GSE Racing, the team that runs Airwaves Ducati in British Superbikes has quit the sport.
Team owner Darrell Healey exclusively told MCN of his decision to wind up the team at Brands on the same day he watched Gregorio Lavilla win both races on the Airwaves Ducati 999 F06.
The team had hoped to race in British Superbikes next year with the new Ducati 1098R F08 but without dispensation to run racing pistons that’s not possible.
And Healey ruled out any chance of going to World Superbikes earlier in the weekend when he revealed that negotiations with a potential sponsor had broken down early last week.
Healey said he’s made the decision to close the team now because too many people needed answers about their future.
Healey said: “Our sponsors needed to know our plans, so did our riders and staff and we couldn’t keep them waiting for ever. It’s very sad to have to do this but at least we finished in style with Greg winning both races at Brands.”
Ducati Corse have said it isn’t possible to race the 1098R without changing the standard piston to a racing one – but need to provide a sound engineering reason why to British Superbikes race officials why.
That explanation has not been forthcoming and, as a result, British Superbikes Race Director Stuart Higgs has been unable to ascertain from independent engineers whether or not Ducati should be allowed to use race pistons.
Higgs said: “It’s very sad to hear that GSE Racing are quitting but there is a process to follow and Ducati Corse have not done that.
"We can’t give dispensation on the strength of written correspondence from a manufacturer, there has to be sound engineering evidence that it addresses safety and reliability issues otherwise it will make a mockery of our series.”
As a result Leon Haslam is expected to sign for HM Plant Honda this week. His current contract is not up until the end of this month but it’s likely, under the circumstances, that the team will release him to ride for Honda.
Gregorio Lavilla is uncertain of his future. He’s talking to PSG-1 in World Superbikes but once news breaks that he is a free agent there is likely to be several BSB chasing him, with Rizla Suzuki leading the rush for his signature.