With Ducati expected to unveil their 2014 World Superbike effort in the coming days, smart money is on Britain’s Chaz Davies and Italian Davide Giugliano to form the rider pairing big wigs in Borgo Panigale will be hoping can take the Ducati 1199 to the sharp end after a difficult debut year.
The rider line up won’t be the only thing new at Ducati, after announcing a split with 2013 partner, Alstare one year earlier than planned last week. The Italian manufacturer is expected to return to Daniele Casolari’s ‘Feel Racing’ outfit, with whom Ducati enjoyed many years success in World Superbike prior to the factory’s withdrawal in 2010.
Having taken three victories with Feel Racing in 2013 as the team behind the official BMW effort, Chaz Davies is almost certain to remain with the Casolari run outfit for 2014 with their switch to Ducati according to Bike Social sources.
Rumours had placed 2009 Superbike Champion Ben Spies alongside the Brit, however the former AMA and MotoGP star announced he is to retire from the sport just yesterday.
This morning it has been revealed Davide Giugliano will depart Althea Aprilia after three years the Genesio Bevilacqua team, first in Superstock and then Superbike. The announcement says Giugliano is to “follow new paths which will guarantee his continued growth in a factory team”. With few factory teams in World Superbike and even fewer having not signed riders for 2014, it is almost certain this is to be Ducati.
Giugliano is no stranger to Ducati with Althea having had the official Ducati contract prior to 2013. In fact, Bike Social sources claim Ernesto Marinelli was keen to keep the Italian alongside Carlos Checa for the 2013 season, however Giugliano’s two-year Superbike contract had been with Althea leaving him with little choice but to stay.
Despite a large number of crashes, Giugliano took a brace of strong results in 2013, including two second place finishes placing him as the highest non-factory rider in the championship standings in sixth place.
UPDATE: Ducati have now confirmed Giugliano and Davies will form their 2014 and 2015 line up.
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Two upgraded models and a brand new one form Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom range for 2016 and all three were unveiled this week in Barcelona. Bike Social was on the scene to have a ride on each too.
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