The countdown towards the start of the 2012 MCE British Superbike Championship can officially begin for Moto Rapido and Jentin Dooson after taking delivery of their brand-new Ducati 1199 Panigales.
The British-based operations will make a little bit of history when they line-up on the grid at Brands Hatch in April with the Italian machine, becoming the first teams in the world to race the much anticipated new twin-cylinder bike.
The bike, which has been lauded in the motorcycle press since its launch, goes on sale this year, but will not be raced on the World Superbike stage until 2013 at the earliest, thus enabling Moto Rapido and Jentin Doodson to give it its series debut in the UK instead.
"It is incredibly exciting to have the very first 1199 Panigale Superbikes arrive here at Silverstone,” said Ducati UK managing director Tim Maccabee. “It is a privilege and an honour to know that we, in the UK will be the first to race the 1199 Panigale in Superbikes anywhere in the world and BSB is the perfect stage."
Scott Smart and Abdulaziz Binladin will ride the Moto Rapido version, while Alex Polita and Tom Tunstall will compete in Jentin Doodson colours this season. Polita, winner of the FIM Superstock 1000 series in 2006, has already sampled the bike in a private test at Vallelunga and is suitably impressed by its potential.
"It was a fun test for me on the Panigale yesterday with Ducati at Vallelunga. It was similar to how it will be in BSB this year, without the electronics and I thought 'wow'! To begin with it wasn't as easy because the bike is very fast with a strong engine but during the day we felt good.
“The chassis and suspension are perfect and I did many laps and I was happy. We didn't do a race simulation yesterday but now I am really excited about the first round at Brands Hatch as I love the track. I hope that we can test again soon, but it was good for me to ride again."