Ducati have announced that they are to withdraw from World Superbikes for the 2011 season as a factory team. More detail to follow, but here's the text of the press release:
DUCATI WILL FOCUS ITS TECHNICAL RESOURCES ON PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE 2011 WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP WITH A FACTORY TEAM
Borgo Panigale (Bologna - Italy), 27 August 2010 - Ducati, having participated with a factory team in every edition of the World Superbike Championship since it began in 1988, winning 16 Manufacturers' world titles and 13 Riders' world titles along the way, has decided to limit its participation to the supply of machines and support to private teams.
"This decision is part of a specific strategy made by Ducati, the aim being to further increase technological content in production models that will arrive on the market in the coming years. In order to achieve this objective, the company's technical resources, until now engaged with the management of the factory Superbike team, will instead be dedicated to the development of the new generation of hypersport bikes, in both their homologated and Superbike race versions," declared Gabriele Del Torchio, President and CEO of Ducati. "I would like to thank Nori and Michel, and all of the riders that have contributed to the great history of Ducati in Superbike, but above all the Ducati employees; it is their hard work and professionalism that has allowed us to achieve such important results. A big thank you also to all of the partners that have supported us, first and foremost Xerox of course. I would also like to acknowledge the Flammini brothers who have managed the championship for so long, and the FIM, the organization with which we have continuous, constructive relations."
By making this important decision Ducati aims to increase the speed and efficiency with which it transfers advanced technological solutions, currently tested in the prototype championship, to the production series.
The task of testing innovative technical solutions in Superbike racing will therefore be entrusted to external teams in the coming years, teams that will have the chance to receive technical support from Ducati personnel. This choice will allow the teams to benefit from even more competitive machines and parts. Despite the decision to interrupt its official participation in the World Superbike Championship, Ducati will continue to work, in collaboration with the championship organizers, other manufacturers and the FIM, to define a technical regulation aimed at containing costs.
Strong in the sporting spirit that has always allowed this manufacturer to compete, line-up against its rivals, and win, it is fundamental for Ducati to identify, together with the other interested parties, solutions that can guarantee the future of the championship in the medium-long term.
Recently the Superbike World Championship, according to the current regulations, has been interpreted as moving more towards competition between prototypes rather than for bikes derived from production machines. This has led to an increase in costs, both for the manufacturers and the teams participating in the championship. This picture does not correlate with the current worldwide economic situation, which has made the securing of sponsorship even more difficult. Ducati trusts that the work carried out by all parties will lead to improvement also in this area.