Ducati Announces Changes to USA Racing Strategy for 2007

Ducati North America and Ducati Corse today announce that their participation in the AMA Superbike Championship with a factory team will cease at the end of the 2006 season

Ducati Announces Changes to USA Racing Strategy for 2007Ducati North America and Ducati Corse today announce that their participation in the AMA Superbike Championship with a factory team will cease at the end of the 2006 season.

The Parts Unlimited Ducati Team has successfully raced with the 999 Superbike in each of the last three seasons (winning five races as of today) and the American based Ducati subsidiary will now take a year to consider its future options.

"Our primary objective of raising the profile of our brand and of the 999 Superbike has been achieved", said Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America. "We have increased our sales over 60% since 2003 and the USA has become a powerful export market for our parent Italian factory. There are a lot of exciting developments coming to our business in the next couple of years and we have decided to take a step back in 2007 in order to plan most effectively for our long term future. Hopefully in the meantime the AMA technical rules, which currently force twin-cylinder bikes to have more standard parts than in World Superbikes, thus making it really difficul for Ducati to compete with the best four-cylinder machines, will be revised for the future. We remain a very strong and committed supporter of the AMA and, when our bikes will be allowed to participate with a fair chance of challenging for the final championship win, we expect to be racing competitively again very soon in the AMA Superbike series. I would personally like to thank the team, the riders and our sponsors, particularly Parts Unlimited, for their role in the resurgence of Ducati's success in the USA."

Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Superbike Director added "We have enjoyed a very good relationship with Terry Gregoricka and his team and are very proud of the results achieved together with them. It is always a difficult decision to end a successful partnership, but we respect the reasons behind Ducati North America's change of strategy. A special thanks to Terry, Tom, Gabry, Gary, Ben and Neil and all the boys at Parts Unlimited Ducati Team for their hard and professional work. We are sure that they will do their best to finish the racing season on a high note."

Ducati North America will remain committed to racing in the United States through the continuation of a national and regional Contingency program as well as various other racing support programs.

Questions and Answers

The following questions and answers are regarding Ducati North America's decision to cease to support a factory backed team in the AMA Superbike series in 2007.

Why did Ducati North America make the decision to not continue with a factory supported team in AMA Superbike racing?
Our factory racing program - which began with a new lap record and the pole position at the Daytona 200 - was structured with a three year plan. All of our racing contracts are up at the conclusion of 2006. Knowing this, we sat down and reevaluated our business plan for 2007 and beyond. This was a very detailed process, and one in which we considered many options. There are commercial considerations that mitigate against running a team in 2007 and we will take the 12 months to plan for an exciting future.

Can you provide more detail?
In 2004, when we dedicated the resources to bring back a top shelf racing team to the USA, our goals were to showcase our top of the line 999R with a first class effort - which we have successfully done. We achieved the goal of winning AMA Superbike races on the 999R, and during the 2005 racing season we were one of two manufacturers to win an AMA Superbike race, despite stiff competition from other factory teams.

Will Ducati North America return to AMA Superbike racing?
The goal is return to AMA Superbike racing in 2008. Ducati North America remains completely committed to the AMA and supports the AMA's efforts to improve and grow motorcycle road racing in the United States, and believes that racing is an essential platform for showcasing our products. Although nothing is certain, we remain committed to investigating our options and returning with the intent to win races and the championship.

Were there any "external" factors that contributed to this decision?
The need for Ducati Corse to build a different specification machine for AMA racing than World Superbike remains a severe handicap for our relatively small factory. This has contributed to the difficulty in improving our competitiveness. Ducati will be seeking a re-examination of this situation prior to the setting of technical rules for the 2008 racing season.

Will Ducati owner's hospitality continue at the AMA Superbike races?
Ducati North America will continue to support the AMA Superbike tour by providing resources and assistance for local clubs and dealers at the circuits during 2007.