BOLOGNA Italy — With just a few weeks to go before the start of the 2014 Superbike World Championship Feb. 23 at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island, the Ducati Superbike Team presented to fans, enthusiasts and press in an exclusive look at the team from the Ducati Auditorium in Borgo Panigale.
The 2014 season will see the return of Ducati (the winners of 31 world titles in World Superbike, composed of 17 manufacturers and 14 riders titles) in an official capacity to the World Superbike Championship.
Ducati will also reestablish its collaboration with Feel Racing, the logistical and organizational structure based in Crespellano, in the province of Bologna, a relationship that was interrupted in 2010, the last year in which the Bologna-based manufacturer participated in the production-derived series as a factory team.
On stage to present the season’s plans and technical innovations were Claudio Domenicali (CEO Ducati Motor Holding), Luigi Dall’Igna (General Manager Ducati Corse), Paolo Ciabatti (Sporting Director Ducati Corse), Ernesto Marinelli (SBK Project Director) and Team Manager Serafino Foti.
“It is with great satisfaction that I open the new 2014 racing season with the presentation of the Ducati Superbike team,” said Claudio Domenicali, CEO Ducati Motor Holding. “Using a movie analogy, this is our ‘Back to the Future’, where Ducati starts from its origins and essential values, looking forward decisively towards new challenges and new goals.
“As it always has been, Superbike is an important element for Ducati, its fans and enthusiasts and we take great interest in it. Its proximity to the product, the fact that Ducati made its name in the modern era thanks to the many victories of its twin-cylinder machines in this championship for production-derived bikes, the chance to develop solutions and kits to offer to our clients and fans, all of this makes Superbike a strategic championship for us. Ducati and its fans look forward to seeing the Panigale fighting for the top step of the rostrum, and Luigi Dall’Igna certainly has the experience and competence with which to take the team in that direction. I wish them all the best of luck, especially our two new riders Chaz and Davide who, I am sure, will do everything they can to put the smile back on the faces of the Ducatisti.”
A clear and tangible sign of how important it is for Ducati to have its red machines return as frontrunners in the World Superbike championship.
Next to take to the stage were the two Ducati Superbike factory riders, 26-year old Welshman Chaz Davide and 24-year old Italian Davide Giugliano, on hand to unveil the 2014 version of the 1199 Panigale with its new racing livery that includes the team’s main sponsors TIM, Fiamm, Valsir and Diadora.
“I haven’t been riding the Panigale for very long yet but I feel that my bike has a lot of potential still to explore and evaluate,” said Davies. “It’s important to continue to work hard and to stay focused on improving each component of the bike but this is a challenge that I’m very much looking forward to. I think that the bike has the potential to win races; we just need to keep working in the same direction and make the most of every opportunity that presents itself during race weekends. I think Davide and I will develop a strong working relationship and this will allow us to support and spur each other on to achieve positive results on the track.”
Giugliano is pleased with the new bike.
“My new Panigale is something amazing, a bike that immediately feels like mine and with which I’m immediately in tune,” he said. “I’m very pleased with how the bike is developing and so this is already very positive. Chaz is undoubtedly a great rider, a great talent and this season he will surely be one of my toughest rivals but I know that we’ll work together and will encourage each other to always do our best. We also owe it to the fans of course, as we want everybody who has always followed and supported Ducati to have fun and enjoy the results! I’m more than ready to get going and can’t wait to start the championship.”