Want further proof that HRC is trying to buy their success in 2010? Just confirmed is the news that Livio Suppo will be leaving Ducati Corse for HRC. After 11 years with Ducati, Suppo for many reasons has been the driving force and ethos of the Corse team. His departure signals not only an active acquisition strategy at HRC, but also a shake-up at Ducati Corse. While Suppo cites HRC’s offer as an opportunity difficult to resist, there seems to be some speculation about his departure being related to Ducati Corse courting Valentino Rossi for the 2011 season. Helping fuel this rumor is the fact that former Ducati test rider, Vito Guareschi, will take over as the new team manager.
It has been rumored that Suppo has been the main reason Rossi has never had a chance on the Desmosedici, citing that the Italian rider would be too much of a disruption to the team’s operation; whereas, Guareschi and Rossi allegedly have a very warm and friendly relationship. Other, perhaps more reasonable, speculation points to the Stoner illness PR fiasco, that had title sponsor Marlboro demanding an apology from the Australian racer. Presumably Ducati’s lack of communication and maintaining a positive press perception on Stoner’s absense was a duty that fell on Suppo’s shoulders, which clearly was not handled adequately.
Whatever the reason may be, one this sure and that is Suppo’s departure from Ducati Corse marks the end of an era for the team. “It’s been a very good relationship for me; eleven years working with Ducati has been a dream, and I think together we have achieved something good,” said Suppo. “I think sometimes in life you need new motivation. I must thank Ducati of course for all the opportunities they gave me, and also HRC for being interested in me.”
“It’s a new challenge, it won’t be easy but we will do our best. Eleven years at Ducati has been magic,” he added. “Of course the 2007 World Championship was the highest hope at the beginning. Since then it has also been good to work together with Filippo (Preziosi, Ducati Corse General Manager) and Claudio (Domenicali, General Director of Ducati) and all the team, and I’ll leave a piece of my heart in this company. But again, I think Honda is something difficult to resist. Next year I will be a kind of Marketing Director for the MotoGP activities and I hope to start on the right foot.”