This time last year Jason DiSalvo was ready to attack the World Supersport Championship on a ParkinGo Triumph triple. Now he can’t wait to get back to the series he left, and he’ll do so in 2011 after signing a deal to ride a Latus Racing-backed Ducati 848EVO in the AMA Pro Racing Daytona SportBike Championship.”I’m really, really excited to be back in America,” DiSalvo said from his home in New York today. “When I went to those last two AMA races last year to check it out, it just reinforced the feeling that I had that this is where I want to be. I got back in that paddock and I was like, ‘This is home.’ Every other person I knew and had some sort of relationship with, and it was just a good feeling. I’m glad to be back here.”And he’s back thanks to a deal with Harley-Davidson dealer George Latus, who will field DiSalvo on a brand-new Ducati 848EVO in the same team that Steve Rapp rode for last year. Rapp ended up fourth in the series standings with seven podium finishes.So how did the deal come together for DiSalvo, who walked away from his Triumph World Supersport ride midway through the 2010 season and ended up riding to ninth in his one-off wild card ride in the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on August 29?”It was a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving,” DiSalvo explained. “I’d been given some encouragement from friends, acquaintances, people in the industry that said to give George Latus a call,” DiSalvo said. “At one point three people called in a 10-minute span to say, ‘Give George Latus a call.’ I was like, ‘That’s a sign and I need to call George Latus.’ I just called the shop, his Harley-Davidson shop in Portland, and asked for him. I think I left a message and he called me back. We just chatted for a bit and he was enthused at my interest.”DiSalvo started to get a bit worried when things cooled off after the initial discussion, but it picked back up after he spoke with crew chief Ronnie Saner.”Ronnie Saner, the crew chief, and I started chatting and we talked quite a bit and it seems like both him and I have a really similar style and we speak the same language when it comes to motorcycles, which is a really good thing,” DiSalvo said. “After that it was out of the blue that George [Latus] called me and we had another nice long discussion and at the end of it he asked me if to be the latest Ducati rider for next season. After sitting on it for a week before that, I never hesitated a bit. I said, ‘Absolutely, I’d love to fly the Ducati flag for you guys.’ I’m excited to see what I can accomplish on the Duck.”When DiSalvo throws his leg over the Ducati at the second Dunlop tire test in January, it will be a first for him on an Italian V-twin.”I’m not really apprehensive about riding it because it’s a modern-day sportbike and I know what it’s going to do when I dab the brakes and I know what it’s going to do when I twist the throttle, but it’s just going to do things a little bit differently,” DiSalvo said. “I’m prepared to adapt accordingly and it’s just one of those things. I’ve ridden a lot of different sort of platforms of the same sort of thing over the years. This is a little bit different than what I’m used to, but I don’t think it will be that much different though.”As for a first ride on the bike, there’s probably no place better than Daytona, DiSalvo says.
“There’s a couple of more things that the team needs to get set,” he explained. “The EVO Ducati still has to be built, but I believe they have the bikes. They are already in the process, but it’s just one of those things and there’s only so many hours in the day. I know they are working so hard right now. As soon as they are ready, we will be ready to go. We’re shooting for Daytona to make the unveiling, which is okay for me because if you are looking for a place to go out and get instant success with what should be a pretty fast motorcycle, then Daytona is a good place to do it. There’s only really six corners on the whole track and the rest is straight up and down and wide open. I think that could be a good combination for some early results in testing. I think the plan then is to take the bike somewhere west, go someplace a little twistier, and see how it reacts there.”The other series that piqued DiSalvo’s interest was Moto2, especially given the success he had at Indy.”There definitely was some interest and I had a lot of interest in that class, in that series,” DiSalvo said. “I knew it would be a huge challenge, but I knew what I had accomplished in a week on the bike. Even though there’s a lot of spec parts and there’s not a lot to adjust with electronics and some of the more intricate systems that you get on your more typical MotoGP race bikes, we only scratched the surface. I was interested in it, but the racing climate, the economic climate, in Europe is not strong and you hear a lot about this past year how nobody in Moto2 got paid. People are not only doing it for free, but it’s costing people to be out there. At this point, I’m just not in the position to be paying for the privilege to go do work. I would have loved to go do it, but things are going to be even worse this year with the percentage of the riders who can make a living at it. It’s twice as bad for an American going over there because we don’t have a place to rest our heads without paying rent, we don’t have vehicles and stuff. It takes a lot… a whole new infrastructure to be over there. I probably could have pulled it together, but it’s so much work and there’s still that thing of how am I going to pay for all of this. It just didn’t add up.”