Shane Byrne

Subscriber Interview: Ernesto Marinelli On Ducati, Bayliss, Davies, Bostrom, Gobert, Kocinski

Ernesto Marinelli has been an almost ever present force within Ducati's World Superbike program for over two decades. Last month the Italian announced that he would leave his role as Superbike Project Leader but having enjoyed a hugely successful 22 years with the Italian manufacturer he will leave with a heavy heart.

Having joined Ducati fresh out of university as an engine technician, Marinelli was keen to prove his worth. He did this with an innovative approach to engine simulations while working as an undergraduate and quickly found his way into the Race Department, Ducati Corse. It is with a heavy heart that he finally decided to move away from Ducati and onto a new chapter in his career.

“Ducati is an extraordinary company,” reflected the Italian. “Even after 22 years I still love my job but it is a stressful life. Between testing and racing there really is no break. You do it because you have a passion and it’s not a normal job. It was actually quite hard when we announced it because of all the messages from people that worked for me. I was very pleased to see that you leave to everyone a good memory.

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Checa Stays, Byrne Leaves At Althea Ducati

The contracts had already been signed, and the news already published, but the official announcement had yet to be made. The Althea Ducati World Superbike team announced its lineup for 2011 this weekend, and as expected, Carlos Checa was confirmed as staying with the team. The Spanish veteran has signed a two-year deal to race with the Althea team, taking him through his 40th birthday in 2012. Budgetary constraints mean it is uncertain whether the team will field a second rider, but even if they do, it will not be Althea's current number 2, Shane Byrne, who is currently without a ride for 2011.

Below is the text of the official press release, including the team's new Superstock program with a young Italian rider Lorenzo Baroni:


2011 SEASON: ALTHEA RACING RENEWS WITH CHECA AND DEBUTS IN SUPERSTOCK

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WSBK Rewind: 2010 Assen World Superbike Images

With MotoGP due to head to Assen in just over a week, here's a taster from the World Superbike round back in April. Friend of MotoMatters.com Michel Hulshof of Sports Photography used his expert local knowledge to grab some beautiful shots from the two WSBK races. Michel grew up just a stone's throw away from the iconic Dutch circuit, and it shows. You can see more of his work on his website, or you can follow him on Twitter, under the user name @ProNikon.


The Roman Emperor, on the Noale Rocketship

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The British Invasion Of World Superbikes 2010

Just how big is the British invasion of the World Superbike series? It's easy to overlook just how many British riders are on the provisional World Superbike and World Supersport grid, but sit down and count them and you see 7 Brits in WSBK out of 26 entries - that's over a quarter of all riders. Exactly how much of a factor they are going to be is obvious from the video below, which was made during a Motorcycle News photoshoot, and filmed by Redwing Media, the press agency for Honda in the World Superbike series: 6 of the 14 factory riders are from Britain, with only Shakey Byrne forced to look to a private - though heavily supported - Ducati ride.

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Memory Lane, Part 2: Miller WSBK Images In Glorious Color

After yesterday's instalment of Scott Jones' fantastic images from Qatar, today we have more, from the heart of Utah's stunning landscapes. The World Superbike paddock went to Miller Motorsports Park, and Scott Jones captured it all on film. With such a breathtaking backdrop, Scott is at his best. Savor round 7 of the World Superbike series all over again, and remember that you can help out by supporting MotoMatters.com in 2010.


Miller Motorsports Park - The Jewel Of Utah

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WSBK: "Shakey" Byrne Signs With Althea Ducati

Althea Ducati has announced that Shane "Shakey" Byrne will team with Carlos Checa on the squad in the World Superbike championship in 2010. Althea ended a relationship with Honda at the end of the 2009 season that had lasted the last two years in favor of the Bologna based manufacturer. Byrne brings extensive experience with the 1098 Superbike to Althea, having won the 2008 British superbike championship and placing eighth in the 2009 WSBK season  astride the Italian machine.  Byrne had been previously thought to be in contention for a factory ride with Kawasaki and Aprilia, but Kawasaki opted to sign Chris Vermeulen and Tom Sykes. Aprilia is thought to be considering Leon Camier and Alex De Angelis to team with Max Biaggi.

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Aprilia to Field 3 RSV4's at Portimao

With Shinya Nakano returning to the fold at Portimao after an injury plagued rookie season in World Superbike, Aprilia Racing will dig deep and field a third bike for newly-crowned British Superbike champion Leon Camier.  The ride for Camier is a second audition for a seat on the team after his debut with the squad at Magny Cours showed flashes of promise but was marred by technical difficulties.  Nakano, who has had difficulties both with injuries and a self-admitted problem adapting his 250 based style to superbikes, is widely believed to be on his way out of the factory squad.Alex DeAngelis had been linked to the second seat but rumors are increasing that the San Marinan will take a ride with Scot Honda in MotoGP.  Sterilgarda Ducati's Shane "Shakey" Byrne is also considered  a contender for the Aprilia ride.

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WSBK: Tom Sykes to PB Kawasaki?

British racing site Bike Sport News is reporting that soon-to-be ex-Yamaha rider Tom Sykes will partner with Chris Vermeulen at Paul Bird Kawasaki in 2010. Sykes, who currently lies 8th in the point standings, has had a creditable year but has had the misfortune of being paired with the best pure rookie in recent times, Ben Spies, and has perhaps unfairly suffered in comparison. Paul Bird, interviewed on the Eurosport coverage of the Oulton BSB round, commented that there was a good chance that Sykes would be joining the team and exactly who would be occupying the seat would be sorted by the middle of next week.

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WSBK: Camier/Byrne to 2nd Aprilia Team?

British site Visordown.com is reporting that the last two British Superbike champions, Leon Camier and Shane "Shakey" Byrne, will reunite  on a team that will campaign the Aprilia RSV4. Speculation has been rife that the Italian manufacturer would increase their presence in the series in 2010 and Aprilia PR flack Alain Roger stated as much recently in an interview with Caradisiac.com. Byrne and Camier were teammates on the Airwaves Ducati team in 2008, the year that Byrne won the BSB championship. That championship paved the way for Byrne's current ride with Sterilgarda Ducati, a relationship that hasn't gone exactly as planned.

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Sterilgarda To Sponsor Yamaha's World Superbike Squad - But What About Byrne?

With the withdrawal of the Spanish Banco Santander as the sponsor of the Yamaha Motor Italia World Superbike squad last year - despite the relative health of the Spanish banking system - and the signing of the American Ben Spies, one of the major questions around the paddock was who would be funding what is obviously one of the best-run and most expensive World Superbike programs. Whoever decided to step in would surely be getting a return on their investment, given the fact that Ben Spies has won a race at each of the four World Superbike rounds held so far.

This fact has not been lost on Sterilgarda, as the Italian food giant has decided to step in to take a major sponsorship role for the Yamaha World Superbike team. Starting from Monza, the Sterilgarda brand will feature large on both the fairings of the Yamaha R1 race bikes, as well as the leathers of Tom Sykes and Ben Spies. In a press release, Yamaha boss Laurens Klein Koerkamp said "It's very positive to have such a well known brand in the paddock recognize how successful the Yamaha World Superbike Team is and want to be part of it. We're looking forward to working together and this being the start of a long term relationship," while Nando Sarzi, owner of Sterilgarda Alimenti said "We are really happy to be able to link our brand with The Yamaha World Superbike Team. We're really excited to be able share the racing emotions and success with the team, starting with Monza this weekend, the home race for both the team and our company."

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