Factory Ducati World Superbike team boss Davide Tardozzi has confirmed that he is leaving the company.
The news comes hot on the heels of a similar shock departure by Ducati's MotoGP team boss Livio Suppo.
Suppo is expected to move to a rival MotoGP team, with Honda the most hotly tipped, but Tardozzi - whose riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio finished second and third in the 2009 WSBK championship - claims he has no plans in place.
“It was a painful decision. You cannot leave a company with whom you have worked exceptionally for almost 20 years without feeling regret,” Tardozzi told GPone.com
“I was losing motivation and therefore thought it appropriate to notify Ducati of my decision in time to prepare my replacement before the new season.
“I will remain in racing only if I am offered something important. And so far nothing has come up. Otherwise I will get on with other activities outside of motorcycling. But racing is still my world.”
Tardozzi won five races for Bimota on his way to third overall during the inaugural 1988 season of WSBK competition.
Later turning to team management with Ducati, he oversaw a period of unprecedented Ducati success with title victories for Carl Fogarty (4), Troy Bayliss (3), Troy Corser (1), Neil Hodgson (1) and James Toseland (1).
This year, Tardozzi faced criticism for apparently not imposing team orders on Fabrizio to help Haga's title challenge, but it is unknown if that was a significant factor in his exit.
Haga and Fabrizio will both remain with the Ducati Xerox Team in 2010.