WSBK: Guandalini to Switch to Aprilia - Confirmed

Rumors filtering in indicate that Team Guandalini will switch from Ducatis and field a much-rumored Aprilia satellite team in the World Superbike series in 2010. Some reports indicate that the only thing left unattended in this alleged agreement is an official announcement. Reportedly, the team will be managed by current team majordomo Frankie Chili with invovement from Team Sterilgarda's Marco Borciani. Speculation that Aprilia would run 2 additional bikes in 2010 had been rampant for the better part of the 2nd half of the season, with Aprilia head of communications Alain Roger in a September interview with Caradisiac. com revealing that Aprilia would field another 2-bike team. It has been reported that Guandalini, along with other Ducati satellite teams (including Sterilgarda) were unhappy with the level of support that they had received from Bologna this past season.  Additionally, it has been widely assumed that Sterigarda sponsorship for the Borciani-led squad would evaporate in 2010 given the Italian firm's renewed support of the factory Yamaha team. Given that background, one would assume that the opportunity to field Aprilia's RSV4, which had a stellar maiden season in the hands of Max Biaggi, would be an attractive proposition indeed. Guandalini currently has Jakob Smrz under contract while the factory Aprilia team has reportedly been dithering between former Gresini Honda rider Alex De Angelis and newly-crowned British superbike champion Leon Camier.  Maybe both will find an Aprilia under their Christmas tree this year.

~~~ UPDATE ~~~

The news that Kuba Smrz and companion will be switching to Aprilia has been confirmed. A kind Czech reader sent us a link to the Moto-Racing.cz site, which confirmed in an exclusive interview with Jakub Smrz that the Guandalini team and Team Sterilgarda would be merging to form a single, satellite Aprilia squad. The new team will have full factory support, according to Smrz, complete with mechanics and even race trucks. The team will also share data with the factory team, and field bikes almost identical to those used by Max Biaggi in the official Aprilia squad.

Smrz had one more interesting nugget of information to reveal. "We are waiting for a decision from Alex de Angelis, who should be the second rider," Smrz told Moto-Racing.cz. The Italian joining the new team could prove vital to the squad's survival chances: De Angelis would bring sponsorship from the Republic of San Marino, the city state which is home to De Angelis. That sponsorship was originally destined to support De Angelis in a MotoGP team, but the sums required to keep De Angelis in the premier class were beyond the San Marino tourism agency's budget. There is still a slim chance that LCR Honda could take the San Marino money and run De Angelis on a second bike, but their money would go considerably further in the World Superbike series.

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