While Aprilia has been busy winning two WSB titles with Max Biaggi, and developing the most successful CRT in the MotoGP championship, engineer Luigi Dall’Igna has been leading the effort. Dall’Igna is a good friend of the new CEO at Ducati, Claudio Domenicali, and guess what? Ducati has announced the hiring of Dall’Igna away from Aprila to serve as General Manager of Ducati Corse, where Dall’Igna will have overall responsibility for both MotoGP and WSB Ducati teams.
What does any of this have to do with Nicky Hayden? Hayden had all but signed with Aprilia to ride its CRT in MotoGP next year, largely because Hayden was impressed by the direction Dall’Igna was taking Aprilia in the Premier championship. Reports indicate that Dall’Igna’s departure for Ducati has had an impact on Hayden’s decision about his 2014 employer. Apparently Hayden is now leaning towards riding a Honda MotoGP production racer for the Aspar team next year, with at least partial funding coming from American Honda. There is even some indication that Dall’Igna wants to draw Hayden back to Ducati MotoGP for 2014, on a satellite team.
We can’t recall seeing a prominent rider, such as the former champion Hayden, still weighing employment opportunities this late in the year. Perhaps we will know something definitive about Hayden’s 2014 employment before the end of the Malaysian round this weekend.
Here is the press release from Ducati regarding Dall’Igna’s signing.
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.”