Alstare Split With Ducati In WSBK, Looking To Aprilia?

After just one year of a two-year deal, Alstare and Ducati have agreed to terminated the contract the Belgian team has to run Ducati's factory World Superbike effort. Today, the two parties made it known that they would not be continuing their collaboration, citing financial problems for Alstare and the loss of a major sponsor.

The split had long been expected. Alstare team boss Francis Batta had made no secret of his unhappiness with both the collaboration with Ducati, and the performance of the Ducati 1199 Panigale. Alstare had former WSBK champion Carlos Checa and highly rated Italian Ayrton Badovini in their ranks, yet after a solitary pole at Phillip Island, results have been very poor. Ducati ended the season without a win in World Superbikes for the first time in the history of the series. Batta had asked Ducati many times throughout the year to be allowed to do more development work, but Ducati had rejected his requests. Motorcycle technology had advanced to such a point that it had become almost impossible for a private team to have the resources to be successful, Ducati had told Alstare, and it was now the task of the manufacturer to do the development of a racing motorcycle.

There is a good chance that Alstare have left Ducati to fall straight into the arms of another Italian manufacturer, however. There have been rumors for some time now that Alstare has been flirting with Aprilia, and that Aprilia Corse's new boss Romano Abesiano was keen to work with Batta and the team. Stealing Alstare away would deal a sensitive blow to Aprilia's rival Ducati, after former Aprilia boss Gigi Dall'Igna was poached by Ducati Corse. 

Having Batta on board would also solve one of Aprilia's problems: what to do with Eugene Laverty. Albesiano is keen to keep Laverty on an Aprilia according to, and by offering a third factory-backed Aprilia to Alstare, Aprilia could retain the services of the man who finished second in the 2013 World Superbike championship. It would also allow Alstare to run Laverty at little cost to themselves, with Aprilia picking up much of the tab. Aprilia will have to make an offer soon, however, as Laverty also has an offer for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki World Superbike team for 2014. Toni Elias has been linked with the role of second rider at Alstare.

The matter of who will be running Ducati's WSBK effort next year is still open. The two main options are Feel Racing, who ran BMW's WSBK effort last year, and have a long and glorious association with Ducati, or the ParkinGO effort, who are currently running MV Agusta machinery in World Supersport after a brief foray into WSBK with Chaz Davies.

Below is the official press release issued by Ducati on the split:

Ducati and Alstare to terminate partnership

The decision was taken in common agreement after a meeting in Borgo Panigale, Bologna

Early partnership termination due to global economic downturn challenging Team Alstare’s 2014 expenses

Ducati confirms its participation in the 2014 World Superbike Championship with plans and riders to be confirmed in the coming days

Borgo Panigale (Bologna, Italy), 25 October 2013 – By common agreement, Ducati and Alstare have decided to terminate their partnership, which started in November 2012. Ducati and Team Alstare have reached the end of a very difficult season unable to achieve the desired results, despite the effort, commitment and resources applied by both parties.

The partnership between the Bologna-based motorcycle manufacturer and Team Alstare was expected to continue in 2014, however, the current economic climate and subsequent withdrawal of support by one of Alstare’s main partners, has dictated that the Belgian team must downsize its future plans.

In a meeting held at the Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale, Bologna, Francis Batta and the Ducati management decided the best course of action would be an early termination of the agreement before the start of the 2014 season.

“I am extremely sorry that an operation that had started on such a positive note had to be concluded before its time without achieving the results we were aiming for,” said Ernesto Marinelli, Ducati SBK Project Manager. “This was a very difficult year in terms of sports performance, but I am convinced that it nevertheless made us both grow and lay solid foundations for our future development and improvement. In these months together, I experienced the constant professionalism and expertise of everyone at Team Alstare, and I hope to be able to work with them again in the future. My special thanks, both in my personal capacity and on behalf of the whole company, go to Francis for the effort he has put in this year – as he always has throughout his career.”

“I am very sad because this challenge, which began last November, was very important for me as a fresh start after missing one year,” said Francis Batta Owner of Team Alstare. “Working with Ducati was incredibly thrilling, although unfortunately, we failed to achieve the results we had set ourselves. The 2013 racing season has been incredibly hard for us, and being unable to start from a solid position in 2014, I would rather not take risks that might compromise our ability to complete the season. I would like to thank Ducati for trusting me and I wish them all the success that they deserve."

Ducati has confirmed that it will take part in the Superbike World Championship next season, with 2014 riders and racing plans to be announced in the coming days.

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It looks like some riders and crew chiefs were right about that frameless design. Too bad Ducati sunk so much of their money in it. Reminded of a Malcom X quote about the chickens coming home to roost.

According to what most have said, it's the restrictors that Ducati must run under the current rules that's the main problem. It's possible that the chassis is also a problem, but no one seems to be talking about it.

Is it me or has Eugene Laverty been completely underrated? If I were running a team he would be on the top of my list of unsigned riders!

After the MotoGP debacle, Albesiano seems to be determined to claw back some lost ground. He has been quoted that both the WBSK and factory MotoGP efforts will go ahead (although maybe not quite in the fashion that Dall'Igna wanted). Problem is that there are grumblings from above in Piaggio that could see the whole Aprilia brand contracting. Should be interesting to watch.

Apparently the Ducati's have a rev limiter of sorts that its claimed can lose them up to 30bhp.

It seems that running a twin cylinder bike in WSB is frowned upon these days if they win.. a 1200cc twin against a 1000cc 4 cylinder bike might have been fine at one time years ago (had it existed), but not so now as they impose penalties. Why? Triumph run 675cc triples against 600cc fours in BSS and nobody complains. The 2 capacities compete just fine.

Didn't Ducati used to run 750cc twins against 600cc fours years ago with no problems? What are the rules regarding singles, twins and fours in WSB? Am looking on Google but can't seem to find the rules (and why they are as they are). Can anyone shed any light? Thanks...

1200 twins run under handicap rules to equalise competition with the 1000cc 4 cylinder bikes. The handicap involves weight penalties and inlet restrictions, and are subject to change based on The twins relative performance to the other bikes. It was recently deemed the twins weren't enjoying much, if any, performance advantage over 1000cc 4s and the restric or plates were taken off entirely. I think there is still some sort of weight penalty, but I could be wrong about that. Either way it didn't seem to make a lot of difference, Ducati have issues beyond restrictor plates. But in World Superstock the Panigale is very competitive, I think part of the issue for Ducati in WSBK is their bike isn't quite as 'worked' as the other bikes like the Aprilia, Kwak, or BMW. Normally the Ducati has to be very highly tuned to compete in WSBK. When the EVO rules are applied across the board I think Ducati I will be very competitive again, and we'll see there's nothing wrong with the bike or chassis. IMO if parity handicap rules are going to exist they should be applied to all bikes.

Currently the Panigale runs at the same weight as the four-cylinder bikes and the restrictors were taken off about a third of the way through the season.

During much of the early "golden" era of Ducati domination in WSBK, the twins were allowed to be lighter than the fours.

My thought, seriously: Running at the same weight and roughly the same power, the advantage the Duc had was in its tractability and power delivery. Note in 2012 that whenever it was wet, the old 1098R went straight to the fore - Guintoli won three races in dodgy conditions.

Modern tires, chassis and engine management systems have taken away the differences that the Ducati used to its advantage.

Ah, okay. Duly noted. This is what happens when the TV coverage contract goes to a channel I don't get and I'm forced to try to keep up on YouTube.

Drop me an email at myusername here and I might be able to make some suggestions as to how you can follow WSBK a little better than on youtube.

Seriously, I think the Bein Sport thing has really shot WSBK in the foot here in the States.

The World Superbike races are all shown live on the Beinsport website. No log in required. Whether that will continue next year, I'm not sure.

They were showing all of them at the beginning of the year but that seemed to have stopped. You can watch them if you have BeIn on your cable service. Weird because I definitely couldn't get them on my tablet. Are you sure they're still doing it?

It's possible that they've locked out IP addresses for certain areas.

"Motorcycle technology had advanced to such a point that it had become almost impossible for a private team to have the resources to be successful ..."

... is the most important statement in this article. The only way to make truly private teams competitive would be to completely eliminate factory support - and that doesn't happen in any series that matters, anywhere in the world. The minute a championship means something, parts and money starts flowing in from Japan.

@morbidelli17 I don't have Bein myself but some of my friends do and they tell me the coverage is excellent, even showing Superstock from time to time. Is your experience different? I ask because I've been thinking about adding the channel to my cable package as downloading the races can be tedious.

Trip nailed it. My friends who are into the sport have to watch MotoGP on one channel, WSBK on another and AMA on a third. Pain in the butt to try to keep up, or it costs a packet to get the packages. Someone smart ought to try to figure out a way to get all three series on the same channel.

When you can get it, the coverage is indeed quite good.

I've never gotten the Bein player to work on a race that has ended. Problem for the U.S. is that most of the races are long over by the time we wake up, so they've simply missed it. TV audiences today simply won't deal with live-or-nothing television choices, and I don't know if Bein is interested in or capable of broadcasting repeats.

Lebowski, are your friends watching live or have they figured out how to see replays on the website?

btw; a little research indicates that Bein isn't even tracked by the Nielsens rating service. How do you sell that to advertisers?