After the shocking news this weekend that Ducati and Althea Racing would go their separate ways, the Bologna Brand has issued its own press statement about the break-up. Confirming that it has contracted former World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa to its payroll for next season, Ducati Corse also reaffirmed its commitment to race the Ducati 1199 Panigale in the series.

Ducati Corse has yet to release its official plans to race in the series, but the writing on the wall hints towards a factory team for 2013. Citing its strong ties and good relationship with the Althea Racing team, Ducati’s press release mentions the possibility of a “cooperation between Ducati and Team Althea” that could still be “found in the future,” which suggests that Althea could come on as a satellite team for 2013, or again takeover as the factory-backed effort at a later point in time.

While Ducati’s WSBK racing effort is still very much in the air, names like Liberty Racing and Davide Tardozzi are being banded about, and it is certain that Ducati Corse is exploring every option available. What is perhaps most intriguing in the news is Ducati Corse’s reconfirmation of its plan to race the Ducati 1199 Panigale RS13 next season.

Early reports on the bike’s progress have pegged Mr. Checa as finding the front-end of the motorcycle to be vague, a similar complaint to the ones against the Ducati Desmosedici GP12, for which the Panigale shares a similar design philosophy.

However, more recent complaints about the Ducati 1199 Panigale RS13 have centered around the machine’s Superquadro motor, which features a massively over-square 1199cc v-twin lump, that has valve diameters large enough to eclipse the sun.

Designed to be a peaky and high-horsepower machine (not to mention bordering on anorexia when weighed), the Ducati 1199 Panigale makes comparable horsepower in its stock form to the inline-four machines of Japan and Germany, however the WSBK-spec version has failed to develop as readily.

It is rumored that while the Panigale’s engine design was built with the idea of higher-revs in mind, Bologna has been unable to increase the RPMs on the machine much further beyond stock.

Down on horsepower compared to the other factory bikes, the engine’s peaky nature also means that Ducati has lost its mid-range advantage, which in the past has been the great equalizer for the brand, as Checa could carry more corner speed and exit the turns quicker than the other riders.

The worst of both worlds, Ducati is facing a steep level of resource involvement to bring the Ducati 1199 Panigale RS13 up to speed (pun intended), which ultimately means money.

With World Superbike seemingly set to become more like World Superstock in 2014, that significant time and money expenditure is looking to have a very potent diminishing return. And with zie Germans now looking over the balance sheets, it is debatable as to whether Ducati’s new owners could find such an investment worthy of Ducati’s euros.

As always, time will tell. Ducati Corse’s press is below.

Ducati confirms Carlos Checa in its 2013 World Superbike preparations

  • Ducati continues preparations for 2013 World Superbike season.
  • Carlos Checa confirmed as official rider.
  • Cooperation with Team Althea Racing discontinued.

Borgo Panigale (Bologna), 29 October 2012 – Ducati is finalising its plans for the 2013 World Superbike Championship, both in the development of the 1199 Panigale and how it will participate in the series.

The company has already confirmed the renewal of its contract with Carlos Checa, who won the 2011 World Superbike Championship on a Ducati 1198,  and the Spanish rider  will now continue development of the new Ducati 1199 Panigale ready for its World Superbike debut year.

After three years of constructive cooperation, the relationship between Ducati and Team Althea Racing will now come to an end. The cooperation from 2010 to 2012 reached major sporting achievements, including winning the 2011 Manufacturers’ and Riders’ Superbike World Championship in addition to the 2011 Manufacturers’ and Riders’ titles of the Superstock series.

Despite both parties’ intention to continue the collaboration, an agreement, which meets the requirements of both Team Althea Racing and the Bologna-based manufacturer’s management, has not been found for 2013. However, the exceptionally good relationship that Ducati has enjoyed with Team Althea Racing, combined with the friendship and gratitude towards team owner, Genesio Bevilacqua, for his continuing efforts and loyalty during these years, means that other forms of cooperation between Ducati and Team Althea could still be found in the future.

With Ducati’s 2013 plans now almost finalised, more details will be released in the next few days.

Source: Ducati Corse

  • Jake F.

    Doesn’t the current Ducati in WSBK have to run under certain restrictions because of its displacement advantage? If the new 1199 isn’t quite up to snuff wouldn’t easing those restrictions solve some of the problem? Or is the 1199 so bad that it can’t keep up with the 1198 even without restriction?

  • SBPilot

    @ Jake F – the restrictions are lifted for the 2013 season. Twins will have no weight disadvantage, though if found the bike is winning too easily, then they will have to run an air restrictor.

  • Westward

    Checa and Guintoli maybe?

    They would make a pretty good team…

  • Jim Gianatsis, Editor

    It is my understanding that now the 1199 will race with restrictors in WSBK in 2013 as quoted by Ducati Corse team boss Erneto Marinelli at the recent Aragon tests 2 weeks ago:

    “The bike is a bit more aligned and a bit more powerful,” confirmed Marinelli, before saying, “but the air restrictor is still annoying. We have some more revs and more power than before. I do not want to say how much, but a bit more. But it is not going to bridge the gap that we had this year, which was very big because of the air restrictor. But we will reduce it a little bit. Our strength has to come from other areas.”

    Ducati first contracted Checa to race for Althea in 2012 when the reigning champ wanted more more money and the Althea team couldn’t afford it. So if Althea wanted even more operating costs covered in 2013, and Ducati SpA tuned them down, then it will now cost Ducati SpA even more to run its own in house team. They will now have to bring over the entire Althea team of mechanics and engineers to the reborn Ducati Corse Superbike team.

    I’d venture to guess that Althea needed so much money to continue in 2013, that Ducati figured it would be better, marketing wise, just to bring the World Superbike effort back in house and race the bike in Ducati colors.

    Handling wise, the frameless Panigale bike has no flaws, as stated to me numerous times by 3-time World Champion Troy Bayliss who helped develop the 1199RS race bike and has broken trap lap records in testing. I raced the 1199S bikes with Troy last month a Misano and I can state the handling with even stock suspension is without fault.

  • Sixty7

    Bring back Bayliss……get rid of checa

  • MikeD

    Ducati…always drama…as long as they keep pushing the use of their 1200cc V-2 Lump.
    No more bob weight but now they MUST choke the engine…what’s next ?
    Time to dump the 90* 1200cc V-2 Deity and develop a 60*-75* 1000cc “Fallen Angel” V-4 ?
    Then what will the others Inline 4 and V4 Guys complain about ? Color of the seat ?

    How come they haven’t bothered massaging the engine they sold in the Desmosedici street bike for Superbike duty ? Wasn’t that a 1000cc V-4 ?
    If they insist on being the “1200cc V-2 Black Sheep” of WSBK they will never be “at peace” with the others and there will always be a complaint and all kinds of insinuations and accusations.

  • pete

    stay away from liberty racing. stay as far away as you possibly can

  • Halfie 30

    @ MikeD: They have had so much success with L twins. You can’t blame them for trying to keep brand identity. However, the V4 they had in the Desmosedici is probably the future. They have to ease certain “Ducatisti” into this idea though… When/if they go with that V4 it will be game over though, and they will make Aprilia look really slow and anemic… Time will tell I guess.

  • Halfie 30

    Also… We still need to see how well the KTM RC8R does if they ever bring it to the series. They might surprise everyone with their pace and make Ducati feel retarded for not developing the Trellis to its maximum potential…

  • V4 is the way to go…. me personally once i tried one it has been hard to go back to a twin.. Currently own two V4’s and the character, noise and power are all awesome… Riding a Pinagale this weekend back to back with my RSV so i’ll save the judgement on that until i ride it..

  • Giova

    It is very obvious that they’re going to bring the Ducati factotory team back. New bike, no more Rossi salary to pay, and and the capital from Audi. They quit WSBK so they could afford Rossi,but that didn’t go well as we all know. They should also bring Hayden from moto gp to WSBK, he has better chances to win in WSBK and hire some fresh blood from moto 2. He is a brilliant marketing tool for the US.

  • Damo


    Bayliss is 43 years old and retired. Move along now.

  • John

    I have real doubts that the Panigale will perform as needed in WSBK. The bike seems to work fine with tires suited for it, but with a spec tire, who knows? Also, as others have noted, the bike is pretty high strung, foregoing bottom and mid range for top end power. 2013 is likely to be tough for Ducati in GP and WSBK.

  • smiler

    The panigale came a close 2nd and 5th in the Superstocks against the established competition.
    Audi will be competing directly with BMW and I cannot see that Audi will let that slide. Especially as the 2 motorcycle ranges are overlapping more and more now.

    V2 for Superbike. There is nothing to suggest that it is not competitive. Especially if Superbike becomes more like Superstock. If Baylis can lap faster on a stock pan than a 1198 race bike then there is nothing to worry about. Just wish that he put in one more seaasoin last season in superstock or next season.

    As for MotoGP. IMHO, they should simply go for a narrow V4, in a trellis frame or one similar to the panigale which is aluminium. The problem with the move from the steel trellis has been 2 fold. Adjustability and feedback. If they narrowed the V4 they could move the engine about and aluminium gives the correct level kind of feedback. All Burgess and Rossi dod was try and make it into the M1, which clearly it was not.
    And make the GP bike a proper prototype not a 999 with a V4. With Audi behind them, they do not need to have all production tech moving back into the rest of the range like they used 2 which is why they used steel trellis and a 90degree V4 as it was 2 testrastrettas bolted together. An keep it indirectly seperate from the rest of the range. Then it will do well.

  • Cpt.Slow

    2013 will be a lot of money spent for one year before the regulations changes… money well spent?

  • Superlight

    Why in the world would Ducati exit the V-twin world, where they are the masters, and enter the V-four world, with Aprilia already there and Honda about to return? V-4 Superbike Ducati? No way, no how.

  • MikeD


    That’s easy……….here:

    No more bob weight but now they MUST choke the engine……..what’s the point of the 1200cc ?
    They even killed a chunk of the low-mid range power/torque in an effort to create a mocking bird of an I-4…for what ?
    The I-4s still walk away from it…at least in SuPERsTOCK 1000.

    Screw what the others do, same or not…….specially when it comes to DO or DIE…would you rather see them LOOSE & fade away or would u rather see them use a 1000cc V4 and give the others a run for their money ? Is not like they can’t build a proper V4…they can and they have done before.
    They will never be “at peace” with the others and there will always be a complaint and all kinds of insinuations and accusations.

    Think of it as the Afghanistan Conflict of Motorcycle raising…never ends.

    If they have the will, $$$$$$$$ and balls to endure it…..HEY……FINE, BRING IT ! lol.

  • MikeD

    P.S: Xcuse my grammar……… (Motorcycle *raising*) and maybe more………dear god that was AWEFUL. Shame on ME.

  • david

    there is nothing wrong with the v-twin format, other than the stupid restrictor plates they have to run. they shouldn’t have these, as they already have a disadvantage for their increased displacement, two less cylinders! i’m amazed at how so many people don’t understand this,and if it was such an advantage to run the 1200 twin everyone would be doing it! don’t expect ktm to win, as no one else has proven the ability to make a competitive twin. and going in, bmw and aprillia had the choice to make anything, and they chose a four! would also be boring if all bikes were the same..

  • MotoGuru

    @MikeD……….. .exactly!!!! They can also recycle those left over Desmosedici RR engines.

  • MikeD

    One loose idea:

    Ok, so you (Ducati) don’t want to loose your “core” identity…the wonderful 90* Transversal V-2. Fine.
    I could relate to. Im a sucker for the same engine layout…just not from Pasta Land.

    If you are willing to take your head out of your Rectum and burn a bit of cash in the process u can have your cake AND EAT IT !
    Just pull a Kawasaki or Honda move.

    Keep building your “bread and butter sweet heart darling 90* V2” but build(more like transplant and detune from your MotoGP program) A MENACING WEAPON…a 1000cc V4.
    Just get the raw “main/really needed bits” from it, just enough to create a hell of a sledge hammer that the others will think twice before going to battle.

    Just a small batch to meet homologation requirements by the FIM to allow you to race………………………………..Or suck it up and just go V4 all around just for your superbikes.

    Or keep taking it on the butt. Seems to be working out for you so far on MotoGP and WSBK.

  • We’ll see Sadly Casey is going to retire…so Jorge has a chance to take another championship. Anyway I wish best for Ducati