Confirming rumors that Filippo Preziosi would be leaving his role as head of Ducati Corse, the Italian company announces today that the man responsible for BMW Motorrad’s World Superbike program, Bernhard Gobmeier, will be taking over the position at Ducati Corse. Reporting directly to Ducati CEO Gabriele del Torchio, Gobmeier will ultimately be in charge of all the racing projects at Ducati, including MotoGP and World Superbike.
Stepping down from his position, Preziosi will take on the role of Director of Research & Development for Ducati Motor Holding, where he will use his engineering and design talents to help develop Ducati’s next road bikes. He will report directly to Claudio Domenicali, the General Manager of Ducati Motor Holding.
On the Corse side of things, Paolo Ciabatti will oversee Ducati’s MotoGP project, while Ernesto Marinelli will be in charge of Ducati’s WSBK racing efforts with Team Ducati Alstare. Both Ciabatti & Marinelli will report to Gobmeier.
The shuffling of the deck at Ducati is one full of interesting choices and maneuvers. With the failure of Ducati Corse’s two-year experiment with Valentino Rossi still fresh on everyone’s minds, the movement of Filippo Preziosi is perhaps unsurprising.
Highly regarded for his technical knowledge in the MotoGP paddock, Preziosi has been vocal about his willingness to do whatever necessary to make changes to the Desmosedici GP bike — this included stepping down if Yamaha’s Masao Furusawa would join the team.
Paddock gossip however suggests that Preziosi and his team suffer from a fatal bout of group-think, where there is not enough competitive thought forming within Ducati Corse’s MotoGP technical team to bring opposing ideas against each other. As such, one singular path has been defined as the most optimal route, with the last two years the product of that hubris.
The appointment of Bernhard Gobmeier is also interesting, if for no other reason than the fact that Gobmeier is German – just like Ducati’s new owners, Audi. Responsible for BMW Motorrad’s World Superbike campaign, the German’s efforts are just now coming to full fruition in the production class, with Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies tipped favorably for next season’s WSBK Championship.
Interestingly enough, Gobmeier publicly pointed his finger earlier this year at Honda and Yamaha for making MotoGP too expensive and uninteresting to watch for spectators. At the time denying BMW’s interest in the premier class, Gobmeier commented that an extreme level of funds and resources would be required for BMW Motorrad to get involved with MotoGP, a point he surely revisited when taking his new job with Ducati Corse.
Formerly the head of Ducati Corse’s World Superbike effort, Paolo Ciabatti comes back to the Italian motorcycle company after a stint at Infront, as the Director of the World Superbike Championship no less.
Many paddock insiders see Ciabatti’s return to Ducati as a strong move for the Bologna Brand, and likely it was one of the bigger bargaining chips the company used when trying unsuccessfully to retain Valentino Rossi’s services, though it seems to have done the trick with Ben Spies, Andrea Dovizioso, and Andrea Iannone.
For Ernesto Marinelli, 2013 is a return to a familiar role, though with a new race bike. If early indicators are to be believed, the long-time WSBK manager will have his work cut out for him this year.
Bernhard Gobmeier appointed as General Manager of Ducati Corse
Borgo Panigale (Bologna), 20 November 2012 – Ducati announces the appointment of Bernhard Gobmeier as the new General Manager of Ducati Corse. Utilising his significant experience in the world of motorsport, including more recently his role as Superbike Director with BMW, the position will draw upon the 53-year-old German’s extensive managerial experience ready to enter the new phase of development for Ducati’s racing activities and to achieve the targets set during the recent acquisition by the Audi Group. Mr. Gobmeier will report directly to the CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, Gabriele Del Torchio, and count upon the experience and professional support of Filippo Preziosi.
Engineer Filippo Preziosi, the current General Manager of Ducati Corse, will now assume the position of Director of Research & Development for Ducati Motor Holding and report directly to Claudio Domenicali, General Manager of Ducati Motor Holding. The prestigious and strategic company role will enable 44-year-old Preziosi to apply the valuable experience of his 18 years in Ducati, 12 of which in Ducati Corse, to the development of new product.
Paolo Ciabatti (55) has been appointed the new Ducati MotoGP Project Director. The Italian now returns to the Borgo Panigale headquarters in Bologna to take advantage of his extensive experience in the world of motorcycle competition, which has included coordinating the World Superbike Championship as General Director.
After two seasons in the position, Engineer Ernesto Marinelli (39), is confirmed to continue as Ducati Superbike Project Director, with the activities of both Marinelli and Ciabatti coordinated by Mr. Gobmeier. All appointments will commence from January 2013.
“With these new appointments and the 2013 riders announced in MotoGP and World Superbike, we are well prepared to move forward into the new racing season,” said the CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, Gabriele Del Torchio. “We are confident that with this new organisation and focused strategy, we will achieve our targets and continue with the fundamentally important transfer of ‘know-how’ from racing into production, an element that characterises every Ducati motorcycle.”
Source: Ducati Corse