Ducati North America and Ducati Corse today announce that their participation in the AMA Superbike Championship with a factory team will cease at the end of the 2006 season.
The Parts Unlimited Ducati Team has successfully raced with the 999 Superbike in each of the last three seasons (winning five races as of today) and the American based Ducati subsidiary will now take a year to consider its future options.
"Our primary objective of raising the profile of our brand and of the 999 Superbike has been achieved", said Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America. "We have increased our sales over 60% since 2003 and the USA has become a powerful export market for our parent Italian factory. There are a lot of exciting developments coming to our business in the next couple of years and we have decided to take a step back in 2007 in order to plan most effectively for our long term future. Hopefully in the meantime the AMA technical rules, which currently force twin-cylinder bikes to have more standard parts than in World Superbikes, thus making it really difficult for Ducati to compete with the best four-cylinder machines, will be revised for the future. We remain a very strong and committed supporter of the AMA and, when our bikes will be allowed to participate with a fair chance of challenging for the final championship win, we expect to be racing competitively again very soon in the AMA Superbike series. I would personally like to thank the team, the riders and our sponsors, particularly Parts Unlimited, for their role in the resurgence of Ducati's success in the USA."
Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Superbike Director added "We have enjoyed a very good relationship with Terry Gregoricka and his team and are very proud of the results achieved together with them. It is always a difficult decision to end a successful partnership, but we respect the reasons behind Ducati North America's change of strategy. A special thanks to Terry, Tom, Gabriele, Gary, Ben, Neil and all the boys at Parts Unlimited Ducati Team for their hard and professional work. We are sure that they will do their best to finish the racing season on a high note".
Ducati North America will remain committed to racing in the United States through the continuation of a national and regional Contingency program as well as various other racing support programs.