SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Ducati North America will cease having a factory team in the AMA Superbike Championship at the end of this season, the company announced during its national dealer meeting.
The decision will be re-examined in the coming year, officials said.
“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 percent since 2003 and the United States has become a powerful export market for our parent Italian factory.”
Lock also made it clear that Ducati could potentially rejoin the superbike racing scene in 2008 if regulation changes are made. He said AMA rules “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,” and hopes those regulations will be changed in 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,” Lock said.
The Parts Unlimited Ducati Team has raced with the 999 Superbike in each of the past three seasons, winning five races.
Ducati officials said the factory racing program was structured with a three-year plan and all racing contracts were up at the end of this season.
Ducati said it will continue to support the AMA Superbike tour by providing resources and assistance for local clubs and dealers at the circuits during 2007. psb
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