Italian racing website gpone.com is reporting that Francis Batta, owner of the Alstare Racing team that previously handled the Suzuki factory’s main World Superbike effort before closing its doors in 2011 when Suzuki informed them that it was ceasing involvement in World Superbike, is in talks to take over Ducati’s WSBK racing responsibilities in 2013. This is taking place after negotiations between Althea Racing and the Bologna factory broke down, leaving Ducati with a rider (recently re-signed Carlos Checa) without a team. According to the news report, Batta is said to have 90% of his team in place, but that “there is still much to discuss. But I hope to find an agreement. I can’t wait to return to Superbike, and above all with Ducati.”
Although mostly known as the de facto Suzuki factory team in World Superbike due to its long association with the brand, Alstare Racing actually began as a Ducati effort back in 1995 when Batta first began his foray into racing. The team ran Ducatis for three years before moving on to the Japanese marque.
There are also reports that French rider Sylvain Guintoli (formerly of the Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati team before budget constraints and other squabbles led to his somewhat acrimonious departure) is on Batta’s list as a second rider. But the big obstacle to all this is budget. A big part of the reason for the breakdown in talks between Ducati and Althea Racing was reportedly team owner Genesio Bevilacqua’s insistence that the factory provide more financial support in return for handling the factory’s World Superbike racing effort. And with the all-new Panigale 1199 as the brand’s new racing platform, the substantial costs for developing that machine are sure to skyrocket. Batta is no stranger to fielding a successful racing effort and will surely have a good idea of what fiscal responsibilities are required to do so in 2013. The question remains whether Ducati will be willing to meet enough of the requirements to satisfy Batta’s desire to return to World Superbike.