Ducati has moved to arrest the embarrassing decline with its MotoGP program by poaching acclaimed engineer Gigi Dall’Igna from Italian rival Aprilia.
The appointment of Dall’Igna has been rumored for some time and is clearly welcomed by incoming Ducati rider Cal Crutchlow who joins the team in 2014.
Ducati made the announcement ahead of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
This decision brings an abrupt end to the short and unsuccessful Ducati career of German engineer Bernhard Gobmeier who was appointed in January this year.
Gobmeier boldly announced a three-year plan to win the MotoGP world championship in 2015, but 10 months later his strategy is in disarray.
Both current Ducati riders, Andrea Dovizioso and American Nicky Hayden, are disillusioned by technical progress, and Gobmeier’s failure to deliver on his promises has forced Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali to act.
Domenicali recently announced a major shakeup of Ducati Corse, and Dall’Igna’s switch from Aprilia has justified Crutchlow’s decision to sign a two-year contract to replace Hayden.
Speaking at the Sepang circuit Thursday before the formal announcement that Dall’Igna was the new general manager of Ducati Corse, Crutchlow was very positive.
“In Ducati I think they need some direction, and if this is the guy (Dall’Igna) then it could be a good move for Ducati,” Cructhlow said.
“I know him and obviously he does a very good job, because that superbike (Aprilia RSV-4) is as good as a MotoGP bike.
“I knew a long time ago that a lot of stuff was going to happen but a lot is still to be announced and I don’t think it is just finished at that.
“I put my trust in them when I signed the deal and they know what they need to do. Claudio Domenicali is a very good guy and I think he really understands the way the project needs to go, but it won’t happen overnight.
“I don’t think they will come to the first race next year fully prepared. It is a long process and it took Aprilia a while before they were winning in World Superbikes, but I think it is a step in the right direction.”
Dall’Igna, 47, will now be charged with ending Ducati’s nightmare losing streak which now extends into three years. Ducati’s last MotoGP race win was by Casey Stoner at the Australian GP in October 2010.
Dall’Igna is highly regarded in MotoGP and World Superbikes but he faces a mammoth task to restructure the race department and deliver winning ideas and engineering strategies.
Gobmeier will be returned to Germany to a motorsport role within the VW Group, with the Ducati media release ambitiously suggesting that he “will continue his upward professional curve within the VW Group.”
Under Gobmeier’s guidance, the Ducati GP13 slipped even further behind with Dovizioso finishing a demoralizing 40 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez in last week’s Aragon GP.