World SBK Ducati Season Preview 2013

February 20, 2013
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

In 2012, the Ducati 1199 Panigale wasn’t utilized in the World Superbike championship, so earned its first racing stripes in the Superstock 1000 series, where Eddi LaMarra rode it to second-place overall. For 2013, Carlos Checa returns alongside new teammate, Aytron Badovini, to see if the Italian mount can live up to expectations in the premier-class.

The previous weight restriction on twin-cylinder bikes was changed for 2013, allowing both the 1200cc Twins and the 1000cc four-cylinder bikes to register at a minimum weight of 165kg, an advantage for Ducati as they frequently cited tire wear issues due to the additional pounds last year.

Carlos Checa took fourth overall in the 2012 championship, earning four wins, and nine total podiums. Compared to his title-winning 2011 season, where he absolutely decimated the competition with 15 race wins, 2012 was something of a disappointment. After crashing out of Race 1 at the season opener in Australia, Checa went on to take three straight wins. He faltered as the season progressed, grabbing his only other victory at Miller mid-year, but remained well within the top-10 in all but a handful of races. Recent testing at Phillip Island saw the Spaniard face health issues which kept him from the track entirely, but on the final day of official testing before the start of Round 1, Checa posted the top time at the circuit, beating the previously held circuit record lap in the process.

Badovini made the podium once in 2012 riding for the now non-existent satellite BMW Motorrad Italia squad. He didn’t have much success on the Beemer throughout the season, placing outside the top-10 numerous times retiring from seven races total. He’s already hit a rough patch in 2013, crashing hard during unofficial testing at Phillip Island. The incident resulted in an injured liver which kept the Italian from participating in the official test ahead of Round 1. It’s an injury that doctors advise will take close to a month to heal, but he’s set to compete in the season opener, just over one week after the crash.

Max Neukrichner heads up the Ducati satellite effort, riding for MR-Racing, but a crash on the first day of official testing saw the German rider taken to the hospital for medical attention. He did not return on Day 2 and there’s no word yet on his condition.

2013 Ducati SBK Roster:
#7 Carlos Checa – Team Ducati Alstare
#86 Ayrton Badovini – Team Ducati Alstare
#27 Max Neukirchner – MR-Racing

Want to get in on the 2013 World Superbike action? Play Motorcycle USA’s Fantasy Superbike for a chance to win prizes like a VIP trip to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and $50 gift cards from Get in on the action before it’s too late. Round 1 at Phillip Island is set for February 24th!