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Laconi back to Ducati with DFX.

2004 World Superbike Championship runner-up Regis Laconi has signed to ride for DFX next season, when the team will switch from Honda to Ducati machinery.

Laconi lost out to Ducati Fila team-mate James Toseland at the 2004 title decider, with both riders then losing their factory Ducati seats at the end of the following season.

Despite being one of the few riders to win in both 500GP and WSBK, Laconi found himself short of options and eventually signed for PSG-1 Kawasaki, for whom he raced from 2006 to 2008.

The Frenchman's time on a ZX-10R failed to yield a podium finish and his best championship ranking as a Team Green rider was tenth in 2007.

The eleven-time WSBK race winner - ten with Ducati, one with Aprilia - told Crash.net as early as September that he didn't intend to remain with PSG-1 (which has now lost official Kawasaki backing) next year, and was duly spotted testing for DFX immediately after the Portimao season finale.

DFX Corse has now confirmed it will run a Ducati 1098 RS09 for Laconi next season, with an option for 2010.

DFX - which ran WSBK legend Frankie Chili during his final 2006 season - last claimed a podium finish with Michel Fabrizio in 2007.

This year, lead DFX rider Karl Muggeridge finished 15th in the championship standings. Muggeridge has signed to ride for Celani Suzuki next season.

"Firstly I want to thank Honda for its technical support during the last three seasons," said DFX Corse team manager Daniele Carlos. "With the CBR1000RR we introduced Michel Fabrizio to Superbike and have also worked with experienced riders of the calibre of Pierfrancesco Chilli and Steve Martin.

"Now it is time for a new challenge. We return to Ducati machinery convinced that, together with a rider of Regis Laconi's quality, we will be competitive next season. If our expectations are confirmed, Regis could stay with our team beyond 2009."

Testing alongside 33-year-old Laconi for DFX at Portimao was Lorenzo Lanzi who, along with Troy Bayliss, replaced Toseland and Laconi at Ducati Xerox in 2006. Thursday's announcement made no reference to Lanzi.


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Chaz Davies, Davide Giugliano, Aruba.it Ducati [Credit: Ducati Motor]

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