Ducati Corse Press Release: Checa Confirmed As Ducati Corse WSBK Rider In 2013

As reported earlier, Althea and Ducati Corse have gone their separate ways, leaving Carlos Checa, who was under contract to Ducati, rather than Althea, in limbo. Today, Ducati Corse issued a press release reaffirming that Ducati will be racing in 2013, and that Carlos Checa will be their rider. The press relase is shown 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.


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into chassis’ seems to be the way to top class racing and sales performance.
Performance Bikes has just published an interview with Burgess where he makes it pretty clear that he feels Ducati need to concentrate on the twin spar approach if they want top class success.
The Panigale is a bold and impressive machine and I hope that they can make it work in WSB. However, Aprillia have shown that the best way may well be to design for MGP and then convert to ‘production’ standards.
Burgess may well not be the world’s best designer and a dyed-in-the-wool Honda/Yamaha man but he does seem to know a lot about bike set-up. The fact that neither Honda not Yamaha seems to have pursued this type of design in either race or road bikes says a lot to me.
Ducati may well be trading off of their WC successes with their current designs, but the gloss of that era will wear off very quickly and the credibility of the engine-as-chassis approach will also not survive long in the pub/car park competition, even if it rides well enough on the road.
Sport bikes are a small but important niche for the major manufacturers. For Ducati it’s their life blood. I think that the V twin and all the aesthetic aspects of the Ducati brand are wonderful and I would hate that to disappear. But if I was being hard-nosed I would probably opt for an RSV4 or S1000RR HP4 road bike –they surely have been bred in race success and then made into impressive road/track day bikes.(also interesting that the impressive-to-normal-humans electronics on the BMW are off of their car programme - HRC please note.)
The Fogarty/Bayliss/Stoner years are not that far away really, but in racing it’s a lifetime (or several) and I don’t hear of many teams opting for chassis-less twins. The Japanese 4’s from Kawasaki and Hondaha and the two above seem to be the weapons of choice these days.
I don’t know how much influence Preziosi had on the Panigale but it seems that his concepts drove the basics. It may well be a brilliant road bike, but unless Ducati start winning again, looking like a race team and, importantly, offering affordable racing to the independents, then their future heritage may not be anything like the past. Audi need to get a grip – hopefully they have and we just haven’t seen it yet. There’s more to life and trading success than WSB/MGP, but it sure matters a lot. That trickle-down needs to start flowing, and fast, IMO.

When did Aprilia ever "design for MotoGP then convert to production standards?" The only MotoGP bike they designed from the ground up was the Cube, which was a complete flop, not to mention in the 990 era. I.E. it was years ago. It might be possible to say that they used some of their 250 expertise on the RSV-R's chassis, but that would be it, and throwing a heavier, more powerful engine in a chassiss will change the package quite a bit. The idea that Aprilia developed their road bike from a MotoGP prototype is false.

The idea that Aprilia's RSV-R and BMW's S1000RR were built based on racing input are also false. BMW didn't race before the S1000RR came about; they built the road bike first then developed a racer from it. Same with the RSV-R.

BMW may have pulled their electronics from the car world, but it took them what, 3 years to get it right? Only this year has the BMW been a reliable weapon in WSBK; up until now it's biggest failure was it's home-grown electronics package. So just saying you can "port over" electronics from the car world is a bit simplistic.

Ducati has pretty obviously put a lot of MotoGP-derived technology into the 1199. True it wasn't a successful MotoGP bike, but the concepts there were obviously tested in GP. Not so much with the Aprilia or BMW, which haven't been in MotoGP in years, and ever.

Affordable racing to independents is an afterthought. How many privateers do you see riding Hondas? Next to none. Because it takes a factory effort to make a Honda a winning package. That's always the case with Honda. That's always been the case with Honda - vanilla plain road bikes that HRC turns into a weapon. Godd luck doing it yourself, though.

I'm sure Ducati will do well with the 1199 in WSBK. No weight limits, no restrictor, for 2013 they'll be able to do pretty much what they want. Seeing that the aliuminum-framed Desmo has the same problems as the frameless design, it's definitely not a given that the 1199 will have the same failures as the GP bike did. Different tires, different amounts of power, different power delivery.

Both the BMW and Aprilia are nice packages, but the 1199 hasn't been proven yet. As far as a racing-developed pedigree, the 1199 has that over any other liter bike hands down. Whether it's a good or bad thing remains to be seen.

"The main reason for disagreement is obviously on the cheap side and has amazed us, especially the fact that a company like Ducati, recently taken over by a giant like Audi, has no interest in investing in a new product, on a project that would lead to repeat the successes of the past with the consequent benefits that would result in terms of sales. Just as had happened in 2012, we were ready to invest all our resources and to confirm our sponsors in the new project Panigale, and it was obvious that we expected the same commitment even by Ducati."

Perhaps Ducaudi have a plan similar to BMW's (hopefully incl. WSB as well as MGP.....). WSB sure needs a team with that effort after BMW pulled back, otherwise Aprillia and Max may make it 3 in a row.

A big obstacle this year was surely that 6kg weight penalty, making the bike way the slowest in a straight line. Checa was riding brilliantly in 2011, he looked really good and smooth on the bike (like Lorenzo does or Rossi at his best), and his overtakes were brilliant and rarely risky, but Checa seemed to have to push too hard to make up for low top speed, and had too many DNFs.

I wonder if the weight penalty will remain?

I like Carlos, he's a real nice guy and capable of being a world class superbike rider, best of luck to him. But Ducati? Who knows what's going on. Checa must regret not taking the BMW job at the start of 2012.

you approach it from a different angle? When I said 'design for' I wasn't saying 'build'.
The point about street bike electronics wasn't that you could make them work on a race bike (I've been watching Haslam closely enough to realise that) I was making the point that doing the R&D in MGP isn't necessarily the only way. Perhaps having BMW develop it for 3 years has been good for racing?
I didn't say BMW or Aprllia developed from racing I said (or implied) they considered racing in designing their bikes. Quite different.
My point was that Ducati have pursued a unique approach that no other manufacturer has since adopted and they themselves have since dropped in the prototype class. My concern for Ducati is that unless they get themselves sorted out in the premier class PDQ their brand value will fall away and they will not benefit from the race-winning effect because it's being seen as race-losing.
If I was Preziosi/the designers and watching the WSB effort my concern would not be that I designed a wonderful engine, it would be that 'my' chassis put the whole set up into the gravel trap of commerce.
The WSB bike seems to have the same potential problem as the MGP - it doesn't seem to be possible to 'tune' the chassis by bracing or trimming as bike chassis have been tuned almost since racing started. With control tyres too they have lost another potential area of adjustment. The Panigale has done pretty well in superstock, but we all know that superbikes are subtly but importantly different and the other brands can now do things that Ducati cannot - just like the MGP scenario. I hope they can make it work - WSB needs Ducati to be successful and I would like to see them challenging BMW and Aprilia in beating the others too. It's good racing.