12 Sept 2012

Official - Ben Spies, Andrea Iannone to Pramac Ducati

Ducati have just issued the following press release:

Ducati announces that it has signed an agreement with American Ben Spies and Italian Andrea Iannone to compete in the 2013 MotoGP World Championship.

Having already confirmed Nicky Hayden and announced Andrea Dovizioso for the Ducati Team, the Italian manufacturer now reaffirms its confidence in and commitment to the MotoGP World Championship, finalizing its lineup for next season with two riders who are fast and competitive, already protagonists in the MotoGP and Moto2 World Championships.

At the same time, the partnership has been renewed between Ducati and Pramac Racing, which will continue to be entrusted with management of the satellite team. The two riders, who have a direct link with the company, will be supplied with official equipment.

This agreement will enable additional important support in the development of the Desmosedici MotoGP project, offering a further opportunity in the process of improving the performance of the Italian bike.

The crucial words here are "official equipment".  We told you on 10 August that part of Ducati's 2013 strategy is the bringing in-house of the satellite bikes. Much has been written on the subject but we can exclusively revealed that the two satellite bikes will be essentially the same as the factory bikes but with a different ECU at the beginning of the season and a 5 race gap between parts from the factory bikes to the satellites. Ducati are partially staffing the satellite teams themselves with 10 Ducati Corse staff working for them.  See here for that article

It was originally speculated that Scott Redding would join the satellite team but with Ben Spies having been squeezed out of Yamaha Ducati found themselves with an experienced rider on the market so snapped him up.