8 December 2013
Red Devils Roma out of WSBK, Elias to Kawasaki?
Financial woes could force Red Devils Roma to exit the World Superbike Championship, leaving Toni Elias seeking alternative options for 2014.
Red Devils Roma is reportedly on the verge of announcing its withdrawal from the World Superbike Championship, leaving new signing Toni Elias seeking alternative options for 2014.
The Italian outfit, formerly known as SS Lazio when it raced in the Superstock 1000 Cup, stepped up to World Superbikes in 2012 with a privateer Ducati before emerging as a front-running satellite outfit in 2013 with a switch to Aprilia machinery.
However, according to Speedweek.de, Red Devils Roma have been left in the lurch by current non-payment from former prime backers General Invest, with whom team manager Andrea Petricca penned a 'long-term' contract towards the end of 2012.
Beginning the year with Michel Fabrizio, who scored the team its first WSBK podium at Phillip Island, a subsequent split with the Italian led to Red Devils Roma signing former Moto2 World Champion and MotoGP race winner Toni Elias to the fold, the Spaniard proving immediately competitive on the RSV4.
For 2014, Elias was expected to pen a full contract with the team, but even the intervention of Dorna – who are keen to keep Elias on the grid – is seemingly unable to plug Red Devils Roma's financial hole.
Dorna's influence, however, is expected to ensure Elias remains present on the grid in 2014, with rumours suggesting he could sign with the factory Provec Kawasaki team to ride an EVO specification Kawasaki ZX-10R alongside David Salom.
Meanwhile, Alstare's future in World Superbikes also remains very much in doubt following its divorce from running Ducati's factory effort after just a single season. Though Alstare were said to be keen to enter a privateer Aprilia in 2014, the two operations have thus far failed to reach a deal, while latest speculation suggests the team could swap from two to four-wheels in 2014 by joining the re-launched 'SuperTouringSeries' entering a pair of Jaguars. The series, formerly known as Superstars International Series, was previously headed up by Maurizio Flammini, whose FG Group ran the World Superbike Championship until Dorna's takeover.
Althea Racing, on the other hand, look set to return to the Ducati fold in 2014 with a factory-assisted 1199 Panigale for Niccolo Canepa, while Erik Buell Racing – now with significant backing from Indian motorcycling manufacturer Hero MotorCorp - is close to confirming it will increase the number of represented manufacturers to eight with a pair of 1190RXs run under the 'Team Hero' banner.
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