Ducati Superbike Project Director Ernesto Marinelli has hailed Ducati's return to the World Superbike podium at Assen, suggesting it is proof the manufacturer is heading in the 'right direction' with the 1199 Panigale.

The most successful manufacturer in WSBK history, Ducati has endured a trying time developing its latest Superbike, but having managed just a single podium throughout 2013, the machine has shown encouraging flashes of speed in the opening three rounds of the year.

With Davide Giugliano notching up Ducati's first podium of the season with a run to third place in the wet second race at Assen, Marinelli says the Italian's result and his strong pace over the rest of the weekend is indicative that it is returning to competitiveness.

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"This first podium is very important because it is the culmination of the great effort and hard work that the guys in Ducati Corse are putting in around the clock," he said. "Davide made a very balanced second race, in difficult conditions, while also pushing hard. It was a pity that the small mistake in race 1 cost him dear.

"The Team has worked hard and has been able to be competitive also here at Assen, a sign that the direction we are taking is the right one. The first podium of 2014 has finally arrived and we must continue to work even harder to improve further."