Published on 28 Oct 2012 by Toni M.
After testing with the Ducati Panigale for three days at Aragon earlier this month, Althea Racing and Ducati have decided in a shocking move to part company after three proficuous years - that includes a World title in Superbike and in Superstock 1000 in 2011.
Althea Team principal Genesio Bevilacqua and Ducati’s Ernesto Marinelli have both confirmed the ‘divorce’ in two separate interviews with Italian website Moto.it
According to Bevilacqua there are three reasons behind the split in negotiations: one is economic, the other is Ducati’s (now owned by Audi) seeming unwillingness to invest heavily on the racing development of 1199 Panigale (especially if the rules in 2014 should become closer to Superstock) and the third was keeping Davide Giugliano on the payroll (Carlos Checa’s contract was paid by Ducati in 2012).
Bevilacqua almost split with Ducati at the end of the 2011 season when Ducati dragged their feet about renewing Checa’s contract, which came only after the final round after Ducati’s CEO Del Torchio stepped in. Althea Racing had very little economic help from Ducati in 2011, paying both Checa and Giugliano and Ducati technicians and engineers, while this season Ducati helped out with Checa’s contract and a few sponsors, but with the provision that they would decide the technical aspects that the team manager didn’t completely agree upon.
What will happen now is a total mystery. Althea Racing wants to continue racing and keep Giugliano and the search for for a new manufacturer will now begin, while Checa has a Panigale at his disposal but doesn’t have a team structure behind him, unless Ducati decides to pick up the tattered pieces of Effenbert Liberty or ParkinGO or they may actually start a new factory team from scratch.
Ducati’s answer will be coming in the following days or in the next few weeks according to Marinelli, and we’ll find out what the Italian manufacturer’s 2013 Superbike plans actually are, while numerous and completely unsubstantiated rumors have already started to fly around Italy, that include a Davide Tardozzi comeback to Ducati to run the team, and Sylvain Guintoli to be fielded next to Checa.