Jun 19, 2002
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From a press release issued by Ducati: <BR><BR>DUCATI TO MAINTAIN FULL-FACTORY PRESENCE IN WORLD SUPERBIKE<BR><BR>The Italian manufacturer will take part in the 2003 World Superbike Championship with a factory team, flanked by the satellite GSE Racing structure.<BR><BR>Bologna (Italy), 19 June 2002: After careful consideration and following the introduction of the new Superbike regulations, Ducati Corse has decided to maintain unchanged its commitment in the World Superbike Championship for production-based motorbikes.<BR><BR>The new "Superbike Racing Unit", headed by Paolo Ciabatti, will run the Italian manufacturer's programme with an official factory team, and it can also count on the support of the satellite team GSE Racing, which will run Ducati 998 Factory 2002 bikes.<BR><BR>Paolo Ciabatti, responsible for the Ducati Corse Superbike programme, commented:<BR><BR>"Our main aim is to continue Ducati's winning tradition in the World Superbike Championship. Being able to count not only on our official team, but also on a satellite structure like the GSE Racing team, will also allow us to continue with another of our aims, that of being able to produce up-and-coming talented riders in a highly professional structure. We will also continue with our policy towards private teams, which will be offered highly competitive bikes like the 998 RS.<BR><BR>"The collaboration between Ducati Corse and GSE Racing has produced excellent results in the last few years" added Ciabatti. "Troy Bayliss and Neil Hodgson, British Superbike Champions in 1999 and 2000 with the GSE team, are proof of this. For this reason we have decided not only to confirm but also to increase the support for our satellite team in the future.<BR><BR>"In 2003 we will run two riders: following his excellent results with GSE Racing, Neil Hodgson will move to the factory team, while contacts with the other rider are still being defined."<BR><BR>"I am delighted that Ducati Corse has renewed its confidence in our team", declared Darrell Healey, GSE Racing Team Principal. "The importance of racing for the commercial success of road-going bikes has led Ducati Corse to continue to directly manage its World Superbike team, but GSE Racing has also been rewarded with a substantially improved package for its endeavours over the past two years. We now see ourselves as an extension of the factory and are very much looking forward to progressing our partnership with Ducati Corse into 2003 and beyond."