2001 125cc and 2003 250cc world champion, Manuel Poggiali, has announced that he is to come out of retirement after signing a deal to ride a Ducati Panigale R in the CIV series (Italian Superbike Championship) - sponsors and funding permitting.

Since walking away from the sport in August 2008, having suffered a sudden loss of podium form from 2005 onwards, Poggiali has been involved in Futsal sport, the San Marino Olympic Committee and riding schools, but in 2012 decided that at only 29, he wanted another crack at the motorcycle racing world.

The San Marinese last year said that he was looking for a test rider role in the GP paddock and was close to penning a deal with FTR to become their development rider, but in the end no deal was agreed.

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CIV outfit Team Grandi Corse, run by former racer Davide Grandi convinced 'the Pogg' to try out a Ducati 1198RS. According to on-bike.it, Grandi said: "When he got off the bike, I could see right away from his expression that we could do it, he practically fell in love."

by Dexter Fielding