In a somewhat unexpected move from his position as Director of Motorsport for BMW’s World Superbike effort, Bernhard Gobmeier will be moving to Ducati to take over as General Manager of Ducati Corse, replacing Filippo Preziosi. Rumors had been flying for weeks that Preziosi would be replaced after a disastrous two seasons with Valentino Rossi that eventually resulted in Rossi leaving to return to Yamaha for 2013-14. Preziosi has been moved to the role of Director for R&D; at Ducati Motor Holding, meaning his 12 years of racebike experience at Ducati Corse will now be applied to production machines. With the BMW World Superbike effort now being given to the BMW Motorrad Italia squad for 2013, Gobmeier’s role at BMW was most likely reduced, leading to his move.
In an effort to revitalize the MotoGP program, Paolo Ciabatti is returning to Ducati as the new MotoGP Project Director. Ciabatti has been the General Director of the World Superbike Championship for past six years, but before that he was the manager of Ducati’s WSBK racing campaign that resulted in numerous world titles with riders such as Carl Fogarty, Troy Bayliss, James Toseland, and Neil Hodgson. With Dorna now assuming command of the World Superbike Championship after being given the reins by corporate stakeholder Bridgepoint, it was the perfect time for Ciabatti to jump ship back to his former home. Whether he will be able to help steer Ducati’s MotoGP effort back to its glory days when Casey Stoner was riding for the team—as well as whether Ducati’s parent company Audi will muster some of its considerable resources to bear—remains to be seen.
The new roles of Gobmeier, Preziosi, and Ciabatti at Ducati will become effective in January 2013.