Aprilia boss moves to Ducati for 2014

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Aprilia boss Gig Dall’Igna will lead Ducati’s effort to stop its disastrous slide in both MotoGP and World Superbikes, having been confirmed as the new boss of Ducati Corse today.

In a surprise development though, Dall’Igna will not be Technical Director of Ducati as expected and his senior management role will mean current boss Bernhard Gobmeier has been cut adrift after just one season at the helm of the struggling Bologna factory.

A statement from Ducati said that Gobmeier, who joined Ducati for 2013 after working with the BMW World Superbike project, will move to a ‘new important role with in Volkswagen.’

Rumours that Dall’Igna was moving to Ducati have been rumbling on for weeks now, but it seems a deal was clinched two weeks ago, with the Italian offered a deal so good he couldn’t refuse turn it down.

It was obvious a deal had been clinched and an announcement was imminent after Aprilia stalwart Max Biaggi, who won 250cc and WSB titles for the Noale brand, tweeted last night wishing Dall’Igna good luck in his new venture.

Dall’Igna has been a pivotal figure in Aprilia’s WSB success and his ART 1000cc MotoGP bike had dominated the CRT class. His appointment will be a massive boost to British rider Cal Crutchlow, who will join Ducati on a two-year deal for 2014.

The 27-year-old did a great job of evading questions about the appointment of Dall’Igna during his media debrief in the Sepang paddock this afternoon but he said if the rumours were true then he would see it as a positive move.

Crutchlow said: “If this is the case then of course I am happy. In Ducati I think they need some direction and if this is the guy then it could be a good move for Ducati. I know him and obviously he does a very good job because that superbike is as good as a MotoGP bike because what they have in Aspar is the same as what they are racing with Eugene (Laverty) and (Sylvain) Guintoli.”

Here is the Ducati statement in full:
Engineer Luigi Dall’Igna to become new Ducati Corse General Manager
•    Bernhard Gobmeier to assume a new important role within Volkswagen Group Motorsport
•    Luigi Dall’Igna to be appointed Ducati Corse General Manager
•    The new positions will become effective from 11 November, 2013

Borgo Panigale (Bologna, Italy), 10 October, 2013 – Ducati announces the appointment of Mr. Luigi Dall’Igna as the new General Manager of Ducati Corse.

Having played key roles for many years in both MotoGP and World Superbike championships, 47-year-old Mr. Dall’Igna has acquired significant experience in the world of motor sport. His expertise will enable the Bologna-based manufacturer to increase its focus on the technical aspects of its racing activity, continuing to lay the foundations for a new phase of development and improving its competitive results.

Mr. Dall’Igna will report directly to Ducati Motor Holding CEO, Claudio Domenicali.

Bernhard Gobmeier, who has been the General Manager of Ducati Corse for the past ten months, will return to Germany to pursue the opportunity of a prestigious and strategic position within the Motorsport organisation of the Volkswagen Group. In his new position, the 54-year-old Engineer from Bavaria will continue his upward professional curve within the VW Group.

Paolo Ciabatti, who has been the MotoGP Project Manager since January, is confirmed in his role and will report directly to the new Ducati Corse General Manager, as will 39-year-old Engineer Ernesto Marinelli, Ducati Superbike Project Manager for the past two seasons. The new appointments become effective from 11 November, 2013, immediately after the end of the 2013 racing season.

Ducati Motor Holding CEO, Claudio Domenicali commented: “Thanks to this appointment, we can look forward to the next racing season with renewed motivation. We are confident that the new Ducati Corse organisation, and a strategy even more focussed on technical development, will help us achieve our targets, ensuring that Ducati once again becomes a key player both in MotoGP and Superbike.

I would like to personally thank Bernhard for his work during these past ten months, and wish Gigi a warm welcome. I am certain that his solid experience combined with our technology and R&D and the technical support supplied by the Audi/VW Group, will help us restore Ducati to the level of racing excellence it had in the very recent past.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt