After a very trying 2013 World Superbike season that saw its flagship 1199 Panigale-based superbike score only one podium finish, Ducati and Alstare Racing have mutually agreed to terminate their partnership early, despite one year still being left on the contract. Although the official press release states that the reason was “due to (the) global economic downturn challenging Team Alstare’s 2014 expenses”, reports from Europe suggest that one of Alstare’s main sponsors wasn’t happy with the team’s dismal results and pulled its backing, and Alstare team owner Francis Batta (left in photo) wasn’t about to enter next year without proper financial backing. Batta has been particularly vocal about the lack of development on the bike, and wasn’t afraid to call out Ducati Corse SBK project manager Ernesto Marinelli (right) or recently displaced Ducati Corse general manager Bernhard Gobmeier (to be replaced by former Aprilia frontman Gigi Dall’Igna) in the press.
Team rider Carlos Checa announced his retirement from racing after suffering a fractured pelvis in a practice crash at the Istanbul round, and teammate Ayrton Badovini isn’t being offered a contract renewal, with former BMW rider Chaz Davies reportedly already in line for one spot on the future team. The other seat is said to have been offered to numerous parties who haven’t exactly jumped at the opportunity.
As for Ducati’s future WSBK plans, the company says that it will definitely participate in the 2014 championship. With BMW pulling out of World Superbike, noted Italian racing firm Feel Racing will be free for hire, and ironically it was Feel Racing who ran Ducati’s WSBK racing efforts before the manufacturer decided to pull the plug regarding full factory participation in 2010. All bets are on a return of Feel Racing to the Bologna fold in 2014. Ducati has stated that it will announce details of its World Superbike racing plans in the coming days.