Ducati Management Shakeup - Tardozzi And Suppo Leaving Borgo Panigale

Shockwaves are running through both MotoGP and World Superbike paddocks today, as news of further management shakeups in Ducati's World Superbike and MotoGP teams is leaking out. We reported yesterday that Livio Suppo would be leaving the MotoGP team at the end of the season, but now it has emerged that Davide Tardozzi, head of Ducati's World Superbike team is also to leave.

The reasons for each departure, though, are different. Suppo, according to GPOne.com and the Corriere dello Sport, has been lured away by Honda to run their racing program. Suppo's decision will have been made easier by the rumors of discord in the Italian factory. The appointment of Ducati test rider Vito Guareschi to the position of Ducati MotoGP Team Manager was widely seen as evidence of trouble, with Ducati and Phillip Morris unhappy at the handling of Casey Stoner's surprise absence from three races in the summer, and Suppo's departure is likely to be related to this to a greater or lesser extent.

Tardozzi, on the other hand, handed in his resignation without any alternative destination to go to. Tardozzi told GPOne.com that his reason for leaving was that he felt he had lost the drive he needed to keep him motivated at this level, at least with the Ducati team. He had not yet thought about alternatives, he told GPOne.com, but he was open to offers, if they were interesting enough. "Racing is still my world," Tardozzi said, "and if something interesting comes my way, I'm sure to stay."

Tardozzi's loss of motivation may not have been the sole reason for Tardozzi's departure from Ducati, however. The Italian was not only manager of the Ducati World Superbike team, he was also the personal manager of Michel Fabrizio. Tardozzi was widely regarded as having mishandled the situation in Imola, where Fabrizio passed and beat his team mate Nori Haga, taking valuable points from the Japanese rider in his pursuit of the world title. Whether those 5 points would have made enough difference for Haga to beat Spies to the 2009 World Superbike title is another matter, but the very fact that is is under discussion is a sign that the situation was mishandled.

With Livio Suppo joining engineers Andrea Zugna and Cristian Battaglia at HRC, the lines of a huge reorganization within Honda are becoming clear. Honda are clearly unhappy at having been unable to win a title for such a long time, despite the resources they have thrown at the title. With the program being completely shaken up, and specialist staff being put in key positions, speculation in the paddock is growing that all of these moves are preparation for the 2011 season. Honda is likely to make a swoop for either Casey Stoner or Jorge Lorenzo next summer, to join Dani Pedrosa in a Dream Team along the lines of Fiat Yamaha's current lineup. In that case, the summer of 2010 is likely to spark a giant bidding war among the factories for the available members of the Fantastic Four.

Back to top


This is huge.
First, in GP I think that 2011 will see a resurgence of Honda. With Suppo and the former Yamaha engineers, it's possible we'll start to see changes at the end of next year. But unless relations between Ducati and Stoner spiral downward after Suppo leaves, I can't imagine Stoner leaving to go to Honda. But who knows, Suppo seemed to be supportive of Casey's absence, of only after the fact,; but if Marlboro start throwing their weight around, Stoner might split. As for Lorenzo, if Honda can show that they have a bike capable of beating Rossi, and they offer him more money, my bet is that he'll be with Honda for 2011.

As for Tardozzi, I wonder if there was a conflict of interest, what with him being Fabio's manager. Was he more interested in personal glory for his own rider, rather than a few more (possibly championship deciding) points for Haga? You have to wonder. A team manager should put the good of the team first, not one rider. Especially not the number 2 rider! And a championship is much more important for Ducati than another win for a guy that didn't stand a chance at the title.

Very interesting. The behind-the-scenes shuffle might be more important than all the rider changes that happened this year.

The plot thickens....

[...and Suppo's departure is likely to be related to this to a greater or lesser extent.]

If true then imo it's ridiculous. I mean, regarding Marlboro's reported displeasure, what was Suppo supposed to have done to make it all better? It would be easier to take seriously if there was truth to the rumor of a rift with Stoner; after all, where would Ducati be in MotoGP without Stoner? Nowhere. But when you see the two of them -- Suppo and Stoner -- together, there seems to be no hint of tension.

Good luck to Suppo at Honda.

I wish Ducati would get a different sponsor. With Stoner on board, how hard could that be?

[Honda is likely to make a swoop for either Casey Stoner or Dani Pedrosa next summer,...]

Assuming so: Pedrosa and Lorenzo on the same team? It took the King of Spain to get them to shake hands.

I can sooner imagine Stoner going (returning, although he never had, or got, a factory ride with them before) to Honda, assuming he and Suppo get along OK, which is, by all appearances (which can be deceiving), the case.

I sure hope Tardozzi isn't being pushed out because of Fabrizio. If that were the case, why not dump Fabrizio? He's the guy who passed Haga and took the points.
I doubt there is much in the way of team orders in motorcycle racing. At least there shouldn't be, and listening to Haga respond to the media, he doesn't seem to be aware of it or even want it. That team stuff is baloney. Its not a team sport. Its single combat.

krka1073 not if Rossi replaces Stoner!

Whether Rossi moves depends on at least in part the relative performance of himself, Lorenzo and Stoner next year. I believe the underlying drive to surpass Agos record on an Italian bike is still there. Rossi is good buddies with Vito's brother

Ducati News, Reviews and Opinion ducatinewstoday.com or Tweet me @ducatinewstoday

This really is remarkable. These two guys, more than any other team bosses are these two teams. All the other teams seem sort of faceless but both Ducatis teams are characterized by these two men.

Tardozzi is actually the hardest to believe for me since he has led the most successful WSBK team ever and has done so while earning the respect and loyalty of his riders. Suppo did bring in a title but I personally, I have to credit Stoner and Preziosi for that.

I agree with you on Tardozzi. He seems like a rider's manager. I mean he cried when Bayliss lost to Edwards in 2002 because he felt so bad for his rider. Suppo, on the other hand, seems emotionless with his riders. He was cold with Capirex, Melandri, and even Casey Stoner. Good luck HRC!

Where I come from Tardozzi's situation is called 'double dipping'. Team manager and then personal manager of a rider on this same team indeed. Not clever - a situation that could lead to discomfort and job loss. Someone higher up should have seen it coming.

Dust Cap-dont forget it!
It apears Honda have been saving many pennys and are now in the position for a wish list. They are out to get as many people from all teams yamaha,ducati included. They are also culling off a few of their own staff including Pete Benson-which suprised me most? Suppo would not have had a falling out with Marlboro-have you heard the guys voice??? he smokes them like an old 2 stroke! Yamaha have had their top electronics gurus snatched by HRC and Lorenzo loses his team manager Ramanogli-if anyone has read Lorenzos book then they will know that he dosnt like having the boat rocked when its still water. All this movement of staff is encouraging for the series,it keeps teams on their toes and it promotes competition and stops teams from resting on their laurels. This is my first post so go easy on me guys,love the site and info,very up to date.