Team Alstare will return to the World Superbike Championship in 2013 after its much rumoured collaboration with Ducati was officially confirmed.

The Belgian outfit took a sabbatical this season after ending its long-standing relationship with Suzuki at the end of 2011, but has now been enlisted as Ducati factory's partner for 2013 and 2014 in a deal that will see Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini ride the new 1199 Panigale [see separate story].

Taking over from Althea Racing, which had fronted Ducati's WSBK effort since the manufacturer withdrew its official backing at the end of the 2010 season, the new 'Team Ducati Alstare' operation will make its public debut during a WSBK test at Motorland Aragaon this week.

"At Ducati, we are very happy and confident with this agreement," declared Ducati's Ernesto Marinelli. "The professionalism, passion and sporting character of Francis Batta and all his staff, together with his structure, which sets an industry standard in terms of equipment and organisation, are vital elements for our future plans. We have a lot of work to do, and I am sure that we are able to do it in the best possible way."

A welcome return to WSBK competition for Alstare, champions in 2005 with Troy Corser and Suzuki, the deal with Ducati comes 15 years after the pair last collaborated. For team owner Francis Batta, he is delighted to be back on the WSBK grid after a year away.

"For me, it's an absolute thrill to be able to join the Ducati family again. Together we were so successful in the past and Ducati remains a reference brand for me today. We are going to face a challenge which is highly stimulating both for me and for my team and we will apply our absolute best efforts to making sure this is a successful endeavour."

Though Checa had already been confirmed as part of Ducati's plans, Badovini's acquisition was more of a surprise, the former Superstock 1000 champion switching to twin-cylinder machinery after two years with BMW Italia.



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