Althea unhappy with BMW, considers Ducati return
The Althea World Superbike team is considering returning to Ducati machinery for the 2019 season, as lacklustre results in recent years on BMW machinery have “not satisfied” the Italian outfit.
Althea – which fields ex-MotoGP rider Loris Baz on its sole BMW S1000RR in WSBK this year – won the 2011 title with Carlos Checa while running Ducati bikes, and joined forces with BMW in 2016.
While the tie-up with Ducati provided Althea with factory support, BMW only supply the team with engines and electronics, with the Italian outfit carrying out all of the development work in-house.
Team boss Genesio Bevilacqua believes BMW needs to “show more interest in winning” if he is to continue his partnership with the German firm past 2018.
“We have not yet decided what to do,” Bevilacqua told Motorsport.com when asked about his team's future plans.
“It depends on many factors, including BMW. I think the bike could be fast in WSBK. We could certainly improve our performances.
“We have not achieved good results so far. We are aware that BMW is pursuing a clear strategy. Althea is a prestigious team that has been successful in the past. That's why we're not satisfied at the moment.
“If they show more interest in winning [we will stay with BMW]. BMW's strategy is completely different from the team's strategy.
“They need to show that they want to improve the package. We have a good rider and good engineers.
“I hope that BMW will change its approach. Otherwise they can't succeed - whether with Althea or another team.
“If the factory moves towards me, I'm ready. But I don't do anything if I don't see any interest. I have many alternatives.”
Although Bevilacqua denied any contact had yet been made with Ducati about running its new Panigale V4, he said the performance of customer Ducati team Barni with Xavi Fores “reminds” him of the team's past.
“For 2019 there are many good motorcycles with which you can be successful even as a private team. What Barni is doing this year reminds us of our past,” Bevilacqua added.
“I haven't spoken to Ducati yet, but it could be a very good alternative. I think the V4 machine will be a very good motorcycle.
“We gained experience with the Panigale in the past. Expectations by the people have been very high, but it didn't work out.
“I don't want to have too high expectations, I know Ducati pretty well. They can build good motorcycles and have a lot of experience.”
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