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

  • loki

    Jensen, I think there’s a little typo there:

    “while Ernesto Marinelli will be in charge of Ducati’s WSBK racing efforts with Team Ducati Althea.” – shouldn’t that be “Team Alstare Ducati”?

  • calvin

    To bad pilipo leaves, he mad several ver very bad performing and ugly bike’s. it always makes me lmfao seeing ducati on track. So now with audi wil it be better. i hope i can lmfao for a few more years. now the only thing to do is get rid of that cheating 1200cc in sbk and ducati wil be history.! a twin that rev’s 12.000rpm stock?! thats almost as much as an cbr1000rr and an gsxr-1000. if ducati would build an 1000cc twin im sure it can rev up to 13.500 rpm. and sbk would be fair again!

  • Quite right Loki. 2am here and all…

  • pooch

    I think Biaggi and Sykes showed that the Duc in SBK is fair now… So far Carlos aint doing so great in testing on the Panigale either, so don’t be concerned about Ducati in SBK. Or MotoGP for that matter. But I hate the thought of Spies trundling around on a Pramac Ducati in around 6-8th in 21013, cause I think that’s his fate.

  • pooch

    or even 2013. The year 21013 woiuld be a long career indeed.

  • I’m really glad to see Filipo finally gone from Ducati corse, his departure was imminent. hopefully, we can see changes that help ducati.

  • L2C

    I think the best thing Valentino Rossi did for Ducati Corse was join the team and fail. It was the absolute best thing that he could do for the future of the company and the team. Ducati got their money’s worth. What they got certainly didn’t taste the way they expected, feel the way they expected and it certainly wasn’t sexy, but they got 100% what they were after: a chance to be truly competitive. Ducati will now reap the challenges and benefits of dismantling a losing effort and restructuring in order to actually become competitive. No racing team can ask for or receive more than that.

    Riders are no exception.

    Say what you want about Rossi, but he has always been competitive, and his time at Ducati was no different. He exposed and exploited glaring flaws and weaknesses in an effort to win. But in order for both Ducati and Rossi to win, all concerned had to lose. They had to lose big. Publicly and spectacularly – shock and awe type shit in order for any meaningful progress could be made. Mission accomplished.

    No doubt, Rossi would have preferred to have an opportunity to win on a competitive Desmosedici, but he had to settle for reality: a chance to win again on the supremely sorted Yamaha M1.

    No doubt, Ducati Corse would have preferred podiums and perhaps another shot at a world GP title, but they had to settle for reality: a reboot, regroup, rethink and reorganization of everything they thought they had and stood for. Man in the mirror type shit.

    For all involved, the future is indeed much brighter than it was, but they had to lose in order to arrive at this point. Sometimes losing is the best that can be done. Sometimes it is the only way and best way forward.

  • smiler

    calvin you bitch. Ducati already won a motogp world title. More than Kawasaki have ever done and Suzuki since 2 strokes were banned. As for WSB, if they unrestricted the traditional v twin, then clearly after 4 years because it is so good the 1198 would be up there. Any manufacturer can build a twin, v4 or triple. So how it is cheating exactly?

    If Ducati are just so aweful then where are: Aprilia, BMW, Illmor, Kenny Roberts. Kawasaki and Suzuki?

    Without Ducati in motogp it will become like moto2 with Honda outspending all and everyone but with even less excitement. As for WSB without Ducati, same.

  • Westward

    Ducati’s plans for Iannone and Spies with Pramac team are essentially advance testers in real time situations. They could potentially be better than the actual Ducati Corse team of Divizioso and Hayden.

    Pirro also gives them a better test rider to help speed progress of development. All and all, Ducati could surprise everyone, and Spies could very well be the beneficiary of good fortune to balance out his time spent on the M1…

  • smiler

    I’m not sure what to make of this. It seems to play right into Dorna’s idea to dumb down MotoGP, bringing 2 WSB people into the arena. One who clearly dislikes the Japanese factories and wants to see the series dumbed down.
    Is this a good thing?

    Apart from that, one German surrounded by so many Italians…..I still think that Ducati’s fundamental problem was simply not building a bike with any configuration that would consistently win. They had too close a link between needing to build a motogp bike and one that they could sell and use the tech off for other parts of the range. Perhaps with pilipo leaving to focus on production bike tech this is the bolster the production bikes need and Ducati Corse can be left certainly in motogp to build a consistent winner. Lets not forget it has not done badly for a company that is the size of Ducati.

  • Westward

    As for WSBK, Kawasaki has proved that it’s bike only lacks the A-class talent to ride it. I would bet someone like Haga could win it all on that machine. BMW on the other hand finally found the talent to prove their engineering is on par with the best of the league…

    The “cc” of a bike are a misleading benchmark. The type of engine make all the difference in the world (In-line 4 vs. V-Twin). If the “cc” really mattered then the Harley 1200cc Sportser would be WSBK ready and the Yamaha V-Max should be a worthy challenger to the Hyabusa…

    Ducati would only be cheating if they had an In-line 4 with 1200cc, which they don’t, and the whining should really stop, or people should brush up on their engineering or physics…

    It’s kind of like the old debate a decade ago of which was better AMD or Intel. Intel had higher MHZ and GHZ, but AMD had faster chips… I had G4 Powerbook that was only 500 Mhz with an IBM Power PC processor that was faster than an Intel 1.5 Ghz Centrino notebook.

  • Halfie 30

    @ Calvin: You obviously know little to nothing about motorcycles. You would know Ducati raced the 999 against 1000cc i4’s and that they had to run the bike at such a state of tune they were cloning engines twice as much as the Japanese brands. An i4 has twice the cylinders, and when doing the math the 1200 twin is the equivalent of a 1000 i4.

    Do a history lesson on Ducati and displacement before trolling and talking trash. You just made your self not only look ignorant, but really dumb as well.

  • Ken C.

    As much as I admire Preziosi’s determination, he tried everything in his arsenal to fix “the problem” but failed miserably. Whether he stepped down of his own accord, or was shown the door, it was the right thing to do. Ducati Corse will be able to start over and look at things with fresh eyes.

    Not sure what a WSBK guy is going to accomplish in a prototype world, but at this point, anything is better than whatever they’ve been doing.

    I look forward to seeing what they do next year.

  • so much lol in the above comments

  • MikeD

    “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.”

    Not holding my breath or waiting for anything…i would gladly be mistaken. (^_^)

  • frod04

    Well said MikeD…man oh man! if Preziosi puts his talent on the next generation of Ducati bikes then God be with Ducati…all I see ahead is years of fail

  • MikeD


    Is like my Dad says:

    Everyone can go and try as hard as they can/want but everyone is not cut to be a Brain Surgeon or The Guy(s) that designed and put togheter The Mar’s Rover, Curiosity.


    Im a firm believer of stick to what you know and perfect it, be the best you can be at it (specially when there’s so much riding on your shoulders)…however that fit’s Ducati and company.

    Xperiments ? Do those on your own dime and money.