“Naturally, our decision will also exert an influence on our partnership with Alpha Racing. We have celebrated successes together and moved the team forward. We have a number of challenges ahead for the rest of the season and we will be working with Alpha Racing to master them in a dedicated and professional approach.”
A surprise announcement, particularly given BMW's success in its current guise, the decision is set to put several riders' future plans in jeopardy. Melandri had been expected to stay on board with BMW after signing a multi-year deal, though it remains to be seen whether the announcement will render his contract null and void.
Meanwhile, Leon Haslam, Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini could find themselves battling over the remaining seats, while Carlos Checa is also believed to have shown an interest in joining BMW Italia for 2013 even before the announcement it would receive full factory backing.
Alternatively, the announcement could be seen as a prelude for BMW to confirm a move to the premier MotoGP series, though speculation of those plans have often been dismissed by the manufacturer.
The team name, the riders and the team management will be announced at a later date.