MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, ITALY, JAN 14 - The 23rd annual Wrooom International Ski Meeting kicked off with a slightly different look at a welcoming party this evening in the picturesque ski village of Madonna di Campiglio, high in the Italian Dolomites. And the look will change even more tomorrow when the Ducati Junior Team and their bikes, along with the factory machinery, are unveiled at the Chalet Pradalago.
Tonight's new look was courtesy of a few individuals, most notably Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian who takes over for fellow Italian Valentino Rossi, who left for Yamaha after two fruitless years, made his first official appearance in Ducati colors when he took to the stage for a group photo with teammate Nicky Hayden and Ferrari Formula One drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. No sooner had the photographers taken their last snaps than the F1 drivers bolted, leaving the MotoGP riders to mingle with the crowd.
The crowd itself had a few important additions on the Ducati side. Bernhard Gobmeier, the former BMW World Superbike chief who joined Ducati Corse as General Manager, was getting up to speed with Ducati Motor Company CEO Gabriele del Torchio. As was Paolo Ciabatti, the former Ducati Superbike boss who returned to the Borgo Panigale-based company after an extended stint in World Superbike with Infront Motorsports.
Hayden and Dovi will hold forth with the media tomorrow morning, after which they're off to the slopes with their instructors. And tomorrow evening, they'll be back in front of the cameras to show off the newest red and white Ducati livery. Joining them will be Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies to unveil their Desmosedici GP13s. For the first-time ever, the second Ducati team will have separate sponsors. Iannone's sponsor has been announced as Italian energy concern Energy TI. Spies will pull the cover off his Desmosedici to reveal the Ignite Pramac Ducati. Ignite Asset Management is a financial services firm based north of New York City.