Fans will probably be missing one of the most popular teams in the World Superbike Championships for 2011. This came about as Ducati announced last August 27th that they would not be fielding a factory team for next season’s races.
According to the statement released by Ducati, the reason they are pulling out of the superbike championships is because they want to focus more on technology development for their products. They also added that, in order to further develop the latest iteration of Ducati’s bikes, they will have to pull out the resources used to manage the factory team and divert them to the company’s research and development department.
In the statement, Ducati President Gabriele Del Torchio also thanked riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio for their participation in the team. Both Haga and Fabrizio had been with the team for almost two years.
However, according to some Superbike observers, there are still several other reasons for the Italian motorcycle maker’s pullout from the competition.
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One of the reasons circulating about was the subsequent changes in the regulations that where implemented in the races. According to some insiders, Ducati might have felt that these new regulations were turning the Superbike Championships into something of a competition between prototype bikes instead of the production ones, which was the initial intention for the races.
Ducati said that it will still participate in the regulations making procedure for the Championships and added that they might also look into the possibility of returning in the future.
The motorcycle manufacturer has been competing in the Superbike Championships ever since its inception 1988. They have won 16 Manufacturer’s Championships and 13 Rider’s Championships for their entire run. As of the current standings for the 2010 season, they are in third in the manufacturer’s category, behind Aprilia and Suzuki.
Ducati also assured everyone that the 1198R bikes would still be running for the 2011 season. However, these will be in the hands of private teams, though they will still be coordinating with them to assess the performance of the bike.