Tuesday, November 8

MORE DUCATIS IN 2012

Carlos Checa - happy to be staying with
Althea Racing on an 1198R in 2012.
(Photo: Zenio Lapka).
By MICHAEL ESDAILE

DESPITE the fact the Ducati factory will have no factory presence in the Superbike World Championship for the 2012 season, it looks very likely there will be more Ducati twins on the grids than in the past two years.

The Italian marque will be represented in the 2012 Superbike World Championship by no less than six 1198Rs.

The Althea Ducati team, which will field two 1998s, one each for defending Superbike champion Carlos Checa and 2011 Superstock champ Davide Giugliano, who moves up from the FIM Superstock 1000 class.

Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing, said he was happy to have reached an agreement with Ducati “that was very important for the continuation of our long term plans.”

“Things took a little longer than expected but fortunately we have resolved these problems in a very positive way, with the help of Ducati and the good sense of all involved. Particular thanks goes to Claudio Domenicali, and to Ducati for deciding to support our team in a difficult period such as this. We will do our best to repay this trust, as we have done this season, as we strive to repeat the kind of success that sacrifice and passion have allowed us to achieve this year,” he said.

“We remained hopeful but it was a complicated issue, especially on an economic level. In the end we were able to convince everyone to find an agreement that would keep the team together and this was of course the greatest news for me. Carlos stated a while ago that he wanted to stay with us and we of course wanted the same outcome so this positive agreement has been reached with Ducati and he’ll be with us again next year, faster than before.”

Naturally Ducati is very pleased to be keeping Checa on an 1198R in 2012, says the company’s Superbike Project Director Ernesto Marinelli.

“I am extremely happy that this agreement, which we never stopped working towards, has led to the confirmation of Carlos in the Althea team for 2012,” Marinelli says. “Ducati has had to make a big effort in order for this to happen, a sign of the affection we have for Carlos, for Genesio and for the whole Althea Team, that has given us this truly incredible result, one that we hope can be replicated in future years,” he added.

Meantime Effenbert Liberty Racing will continue with Ducati, fielding a pair of Frenchmen: Sylvain Guintoli and Maxime Berger. This is an interesting choice for the Czech-based team, which has apparently let its crash-prone Czech rider Jacub Smrz go. Berger raced for the Supersonic Racing Team on a Ducati in 2011 and will be remembered for his spectacular crash at Donington when the rear wheel of his machine broke.


The Ducati presence is not limited to Althea Racing and Effenbert Liberty Racing though. Giuliano Rovelli’s Park ParkinGO team is planning to switch from the Supersport class to Superbikes, with a Ducati 1198R. The ParkinGO team won the Supersport crown this year with Englishman Chaz Davies on a Yamaha YZF-R6. Davies will race the 1198R in the Superbike class in 2012.

“We will have new 1198 machines,” Rovelli has confirmed. “We have ordered them directly from Ducati, so they will be brand new.”

Lucio Nicastro will be the team manager while the technical director is Alberto ‘Moro' Colombo, assisted by an engineer and an electronics engineer from Ducati Corse. Colombo has been involved in many previous Ducati SWC campaigns.

And finally there’s a new Italian team joining the Superbike fray: the Ducati Roma team starting its preparations for the 2012 Superbike World Championship with three days of testing at the Misano circuit from October 29-31, with Niccolò Canepa on board another new 1198R.

Canepa lapped constantly in around 1m 37s familiarizing himself with the Ducati V-twin and the ride-by-wire throttle and engine mapping electronics package, as well as working on suspension and brakes. It was the young Italian’s first time on a Superbike machine since 2008.