Suzuki put its new prototype race bike through its first test laps alongside other MotoGP racers in preparation for its impending return to racing in the 2015 season. Test rider Nobuatsu Aoki, who had been playing a key role in the racebike’s development, took the new Suzuki 1000cc Inline-Four prototype out for a few shakedown […]
Bernhard Gobmeier Replaces Filippo Preziosi as Head of Ducati Corse
Ducati has named Bernhard Gobmeier the new general manager of Ducati Corse, handing the former BMW Superbike racing director the reins to the company’s racing program. Gobmeier replaces Filippo Preziosi (pictured above) who will be reassigned to the post of director of research and development for Ducati, shifting his focus from racing to developing new products.
The personnel change carries two storylines. On the one hand, Preziosi’s tenure as GM of Ducati Corse was a disappointing period for the factory MotoGP program, highlighted by the two disastrous seasons with Valentino Rossi and the continuing struggle to make the Desmosedici race bike competitive.
The other plot thread is the appointment of a German to lead the Italian manufacturer’s racing program. Ducati is now, of course, owned by Audi, and the appointment of Gobmeier has the German automaker’s fingerprints all over it. As the official announcement reads, Gobmeier’s role is to “to enter the new phase of development for Ducati’s racing activities and to achieve the targets set during the recent acquisition by the Audi Group.”
Regardless of the backstory, the task before Gobmeier now is to bring Ducati back to competitive form in MotoGP while also overseeing the development of the Superbike program with the Ducati 1199 Panigale.
Ducati is entering a new two-year partnership with the Alstare race team with riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini to field the Panigale in the 2013 World Superbike Championship. Engineer Ernesto Marinelli will manage the WSBK program and report to Gobmeier.
Over on the MotoGP side, Ducati’s MotoGP program will be led by Paolo Ciabatti,who returns to Ducati Corse following a stint as general director of WSBK. Ducati has Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso signed to race the 2013 MotoGP Championship. Both riders took part in a test last week at the Valencia circuit.