For the second time this season, Superstock 1000 Cup racer Federico Sandi has lost his ride on a new Ducati 1199 Panigale race bike.
Sandi was cut loose from Liberty Racing in March after the team decided to focus its resources on a four-rider World Superbike effort. The 22-year-old racer then landed with Althea Racing, the team that captured the 2011 Superstock 1000 Cup as well as the 2011 WSBK Championship with Carlos Checa.
That might sound like a solid opportunity but such was not the case. Althea had originally planned to race just the WSBK class with last year’s Superstock 1000 champion Davide Giugliano graduating to the premiere class. Althea offered Sandi a ride on the Panigale, in part as a favor to the rider and, perhaps, to Ducati as well. But after back-to-back DNF results at Imola and Assen, the team has pulled the plug on Sandi and its Superstock effort.
“The fondness that the Althea team has for Federico encouraged us to put together, with the help of Ducati, a bike and team in little more than a couple of weeks and we were thus able to participate in the first two races of the season,” says Genesio Bevilacqua, general manager of Althea Racing. “The amount of work and effort that this activity requires means that we are unfortunately unable to continue with this project, that we had not planned for, for the entire season. We really wanted to do more but we are nevertheless aware that we have given Federico significant support at a time when our sector is suffering.”
It says a lot about the state of motorcycle racing in this economy when the likes of Althea Racing and Liberty Racing, both teams with strong WSBK aspirations – Checa is currently second in the championship while Liberty Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli is fourth – cannot support a team in the Superstock 1000 Cup.
For his part, Sandi thanked Althea Racing and Ducati for the opportunity while lamenting his fortune.
“It has been a great experience anyway, and for this I thank both the team and Ducati,” says Sandi. “I hope to be able to repeat it in the future with more success and more luck.”
[Source: Althea Racing]