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Preziosi replaced in Ducati shake-up

20 November 2012

As rumoured during the season-ending Valencia MotoGP weekend, Filippo Preziosi is to move from his position as general manager of Ducati Corse.

The Italian, who has led development of the Desmosedici MotoGP project since its race-wining 2003 debut, will be replaced by Bernhard Gobmeier, former Superbike Director with BMW.

Preziosi now assumes the position of director of R&D at Ducati Motor Holding.

Meanwhile, Paolo Ciabatti will return to Ducati in the role of MotoGP Project Director, having worked for World Superbike organiser FG Sport since 2007. Ciabatti was previously Superbike director for Ducati.

The re-organisation follows the recent purchase of Ducati by Audi and two winless seasons for seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi at Ducati's MotoGP team. Rossi is returning to Yamaha in 2013.

A Ducati statement reads:

'Ducati announces the appointment of Bernhard Gobmeier as the new General Manager of Ducati Corse. Utilising his significant experience in the world of motorsport, including more recently his role as Superbike Director with BMW, the position will draw upon the 53-year-old German's extensive managerial experience ready to enter the new phase of development for Ducati's racing activities and to achieve the targets set during the recent acquisition by the Audi Group.

'Mr. Gobmeier will report directly to the CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, Gabriele Del Torchio, and count upon the experience and professional support of Filippo Preziosi.

'Engineer Filippo Preziosi, the current General Manager of Ducati Corse, will now assume the position of Director of Research & Development for Ducati Motor Holding and report directly to Claudio Domenicali, General Manager of Ducati Motor Holding. The prestigious and strategic company role will enable 44-year-old Preziosi to apply the valuable experience of his 18 years in Ducati, 12 of which in Ducati Corse, to the development of new product.

'Paolo Ciabatti (55) has been appointed the new Ducati MotoGP Project Director. The Italian now returns to the Borgo Panigale headquarters in Bologna to take advantage of his extensive experience in the world of motorcycle competition, which has included coordinating the World Superbike Championship as General Director.

'After two seasons in the position, Engineer Ernesto Marinelli (39), is confirmed to continue as Ducati Superbike Project Director, with the activities of both Marinelli and Ciabatti coordinated by Mr. Gobmeier.

'All appointments will commence from January 2013.

"With these new appointments and the 2013 riders announced in MotoGP and World Superbike, we are well prepared to move forward into the new racing season," said the CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, Gabriele Del Torchio.

"We are confident that with this new organisation and focused strategy, we will achieve our targets and continue with the fundamentally important transfer of 'know-how' from racing into production, an element that characterises every Ducati motorcycle."'

Preziosi's Desmosedici, featuring a steel trellis frame, made its MotoGP debut in 2003, winning its sixth race with Loris Capirossi.

Capirossi took a further five wins on the 990cc bike, and a best of third overall in the 2006 championship, with Troy Bayliss adding a further victory as a one-off replacement for the injured Sete Gibernau at Valencia '06.

New signing Casey Stoner then won 23 races and the 2007 world title during four years on the 800cc machine, which saw increasing structural use of carbon fibre, but the only other post-2006 victory has been a single wet/dry win for Capirossi at Motegi '07.

Ducati has not won a race since Stoner's departure for Honda at the end of 2010, despite signing superstar Rossi to replace the Australian.

Rossi is moving back to Yamaha after just three podiums with Ducati, which switched to a twin-spar aluminium frame - as used by the Japanese bikes - for the start of the 2012 season.

Rossi admitted that, despite all the technical changes, they made little impact in terms of solving the understeer/front end problems he felt during his very first test with the Desmosedici.

Italian Andrea Dovizioso is to replace Rossi next season, alongside the retained Nicky Hayden.



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