In a surprise move, Althea Racing and Ducati Corse have parted ways in their World Superbike collaboration. The news sees Carlos Checa remaining with Ducati Corse and on the Ducati 1199 Panigale, though the Spaniard has no team behind him. Meanwhile, Althea Racing will retain #2 man Davide Giugliano, but will have to begin a search for a new manufacturer.
The issue under contention is the level of support Ducati Corse was willing to give the team, as Team Principal Genesio Bevilacqua has said to several Italian publications that Ducati was willing to give about as much support in 2013 as it did in 2012, which wasn’t a lot.
Left to develop the Ducati 1199 Panigale on its own, a large feat given the rumors that the Ducati 1199 Panigale RS13 is not up to par for racing duty, Althea Racing is said to have balked at the idea of having to do all the heavy-lifting while Ducati reaps all the reward, and rightfully so.
While an official response from Ducati Corse is said to be forthcoming, it is said that the company’s main reservation in developing the Panigale itself is the upcoming rules for the 2014 season, which could see World Superbike become closer to World Superstock in the spec of the machines.
With the Ducati 1199 Panigale RS13 needing significant levels of money and resources to be a title contender, Ducati, and its new owner Audi, are allegedly having a hard time justifying the potentially single-year reward for that expense.
While the dust is still settling on this news, it raises serious question marks for Ducati in the 2013 World Superbike Championship. Will the Italian brand be represented at all in the coming season? Will Ducati Corse field a factory team of its own? Could it pick-up the pieces of the Liberty Racing Squad? Could Althea and Ducati Corse still reconcile? And what of Carlos Checa? Davide Tardozzi? And the competitiveness of the Panigale?
Ducati 1199 Panigale RS13: