Team Ducati 2003 driver lineup announced

Ducati Desmosedici set to make 2003 MotoGP debut in Marlboro colours with riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi. Bologna, Italy - "Team Marlboro Ducati" will line up for the start of the 2003 MotoGP championship with three-times world champion ...

Team Ducati 2003 driver lineup announced

Ducati Desmosedici set to make 2003 MotoGP debut in Marlboro colours with riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi.

Bologna, Italy - "Team Marlboro Ducati" will line up for the start of the 2003 MotoGP championship with three-times world champion Loris Capirossi and the Australian ace Troy Bayliss, 2001 World Superbike champion, who is currently fighting for the 2002 title. Both riders will be on two-year contracts.

"We have signed a four-year contract with Marlboro which will enable us to take part in the MotoGP championship knowing that at our side we have a sponsor that has contributed to some of the greatest chapters in motorsport history, and with whom we will be tackling this new challenge with great enthusiasm" declared Claudio Domenicali, Ducati Corse (NYSE:DMH) CEO. "We are delighted with the trust granted to us by our main sponsor for the future".

The aim of starting the 2003 world championship with a top rider from MotoGP and one from Superbike, originally announced during the presentation of the Ducati Desmosedici at Mugello in May, has now been achieved.

"We strongly wanted Troy and Loris because both have shown themselves to be extremely talented riders and above all because they are totally committed to our project" added Domenicali. "The desire to win and to face new challenges that we see in both of them was the deciding factor in our decision. Thanks to their experience, we are certain that we will make our MotoGP debut with a top-level team and with the right motivation to develop the Desmosedici as quickly as possible. For all of us in Ducati Corse, the fact that we have two champions in the team is a further motivation to tackle this great adventure with the enthusiasm and passion that distinguishes us. We are aware of the difficulties that lie ahead but we are also aware that we have all the human, financial and technological resources to tackle them with maximum commitment and determination. We are also pleased that our choice respects the wishes of Ducatisti. In fact Troy and Loris received the most votes in a recent poll on our website http://www.ducati.com/".

Ducati Corse's technological partnership with Shell Advance has also been renewed for the next three years. Thanks to its experience in Formula 1, Shell is the ideal partner for the development of lubricants and fuels for GP engines, which can reach rotation speeds of up to 17,000 rpm.

"Collaboration with Shell Advance has continued successfully since 1999. Shell's experience with high-performance engines is, in this early testing phase, already proving to be of great help in the development of our new GP engine," declared Filippo Preziosi, Ducati Corse Technical Director.

The testing of the Ducati Desmosedici will continue in the coming months, first with test-rider Vittoriano Guareschi and, from October onwards, also with Troy Bayliss. The reigning World Superbike champion will be defending his title in the final round of the season at Imola on September 29th, after chief rival Colin Edwards overtook him by one point in the last round at Assen, despite Troy's 14 wins to the American's 9 during this incredible season of Superbike racing.

Loris Capirossi, thanks to the generosity shown by his current team manager Sito Pons, will begin testing the Desmosedici at the end of the 2002 MotoGP championship.

-Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A.

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