BSB » 2 February 2011
Rutter, Ducati seal new sponsorship deal
The pair are targeting the title after receiving the funding to upgrade the 1198.
Michael Rutter, Martin Jessopp and Ducati will return to the British Superbike grid in 2011 after securing a major title sponsorship deal with Rapid Solicitors.
The team, which competed as Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati last season, proved one of the revelations of 2010, with Rutter proving particularly competitive aboard the 1198 on the way to the top six shootout.
Winning two races – at Knockhill and Silverstone -, Rutter ended the season in fifth position overall, the 38-year-old's best result since 2005. Jessopp, meanwhile, also showed encouraging form on the bike, taking a pole position at Thruxton, only for a leg-breaking accident at Mallory Park to curtail his season early.
Nonetheless, both riders are back with the same manufacturer in 2011, though it will be heavily-backed by Rapid Solicitors this time.
The company, a nationwide accident compensation company, will lend support to the team, the new Ducati 848 Challenge and the BSB championship itself in what will be a substantial deal across the series.
It's an exciting boost for the team, which will also see the bikes upgraded to include a full fly-by-wire throttle system and improved specification.
“Stuart Higgs, the BSB Series Director, has been instrumental in helping us conclude this deal, which is not only a benefit to us as a racing team, but also benefits the entire championship,” said team manager Phil Jessopp.
“[The fly-by-wire throttle system] means we can break the track up into 16 sectors and dial in the engine braking and traction control strategies to suit each specific sector. We've also now got launch control which we never previously had.
“Ducati will be up-specing the 2011 bikes all year,” he added. “There's new engine internals – pistons and cams - coming to reduce the torque and increase horsepower.
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