It had been expected that, as soon as Neil Hodgson wrapped up the 2003 World Superbike championship crown, Ducati would announce that he would ride a semi-factory Desmosedici in MotoGP next year. However, despite the Brit winning the WSBK title at Assen on 7 September, there has been no official announcement of what is expected to be a two-rider team run by Luis d'Antin.

The delay has naturally caused the GP rumour mill to run wild - is it because Honda/Yamaha are fighting to keep their current links with d'Antin? Or that Luis is yet to find what is believed will be a young Spanish team-mate? Or is it actually that the Bologna-based manufacturer is deep in talks with Valentino Rossi, Colin Edwards, Ruben Xaus, Regis Laconi and/or James Toseland?

Instead, it seems that the delay is simply to allow Ducati to announce its 2004 race plans for both MotoGP and WSBK together, so the full line-ups should be revealed by October...

"We have always said that the most logical step will be for [Hodgson] to go onto MotoGP, with a second 'satellite' Ducati team, and there is nothing else to add," Ducati spokesperson Sonia Braggio told Crash.net, "We will not be revealing anything until things regarding team and riders for MotoGP and Superbike are 100 per cent, and we expect to make an announcement sometime in October."

 

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