Photography by Gold & Goose
The bad news: Ducati and Team Alstare have split up, ending a near one-year partnership that saw the Belgium-based team run the factory World Superbike team for Ducati in what was a frustrating season for both entities. The good news: Ducati will continue in World Superbike in 2014 with a team and riders yet to be named.
Although things were expected to continue status quo, Alstare has lost one of its “main partners” and the team is being forced to downsize its future plans, according to the Ducati release.
In a meeting held at the Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale, Bologna, Alstare team owner 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 [Batta] for the effort he has put in this year – as he always has throughout his career.”
Batta was also disappointed that the team won’t be able to continue.
“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 Batta. “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."
The top Ducati rider in this year's World Superbike Championship was Ayrton Badovini, the Italian finishing 12th in the championship with the highlight a third-place finish in race one of the Russian round. Carlos Checa, meanhwhile, suffered through an injury plagued year in which he finished 15th in the title chase. Checa announced his retirement last week.