Ducati recently announced a major shake-up of its sporting management. With rapid impact, Paolo Ciabatti is stepping down as sporting director of Reparto Corse, the racing arm of the model, to guide the brand new off-road construction from the place of common supervisor. His emptiness will likely be stuffed by Mauro Grassilli, who till now was in control of advertising and marketing and sponsorship.
The factor that finest explains the character of this transfer seems within the assertion despatched to the media however is considerably camouflaged. In his new place, Ciabatti will now not report back to Dall’Igna, international common supervisor of the Borgo Panigale firm, however on to Claudio Domenicali, its CEO.
In different phrases, this modification solely additional strengthens Dall’Igna’s place, whose space of affect goes far past the purely technical side. Other than the primary three years since his arrival in 2014, by which Domenicali wished to intently comply with his signing, the engineer has been gaining increasingly weight in sporting choices. Now every little thing goes by him.
Ciabatti’s departure is especially noteworthy due to the timing. Marc Marquez’s arrival at Gresini locations him as one of many items on the board that’s managed by the Bologna-based staff, which, till now, had managed its troops in an excellent means. One of many elementary pillars of this administration success has at all times been Ciabatti, distinguished by his empathy and his means to influence individuals by dialogue.
Till now, certainly one of his principal contributions was to barter the Ducati riders’ contracts, normally a thankless activity, however one which he at all times solved with hardly any battle. If we check out Grassilli’s curriculum and his scarce expertise in races – he solely attended 4 or 5 grands prix a 12 months – it’s troublesome to think about him negotiating with Francesco Bagnaia or Jorge Martin, to call two of the riders he’ll have to barter with within the coming months.
“Paolo has at all times been very simple to work with. He’s very solvent and well mannered, empathetic and likewise affectionate. He by no means misplaced his mood,” says Jorge Lorenzo, with whom Ciabatti struck up an in depth relationship following the Spaniard’s arrival at Ducati in 2017. “Beginning this off-road challenge, I perceive that Ducati wants somebody who is aware of the model and the extent to guide it. With the departure of Paolo, the MotoGP division loses quite a bit, however the motocross division features a key participant.
“Paolo has at all times performed probably the most human position, other than the great relationship he has at all times maintained with the sponsors. That is why all of the riders love him as a result of he acts as a hyperlink between them and Ducati. He has at all times constructed bridges of understanding,” explains Albert Valera, Lorenzo’s agent on the time, and now Martin’s agent. “Mauro is superb, however we must give him time to see if he’s able to growing that human aspect. As for sponsors, he has realized quite a bit from Paolo.”
Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Ciabatti has been a key determine in harmonising Ducati’s rider line-up
Parallel to those future points, one of many principal points to be handled by the brand new govt will likely be how Marquez will slot in, an actual problem if we keep in mind the reticence with which he has been acquired by the opposite riders on the producer, particularly the Italian ones. This job appeared tailored for somebody of Ciabatti’s profile, who together with his character and praxis managed to earn the belief of all of them.
Nonetheless, Ducati appears to love to complicate its life and has most well-liked to depart the matter within the arms of Dall’Igna. Autosport understands that the engineer was one of many principal supporters of the signing of Marquez by Gresini, whereas others, comparable to Ciabatti or Domenicali himself, had been extra reluctant to his incorporation, conscious of the opportunity of altering the concord that was so onerous to attain inside its rider ranks.
Just lately Ciabatti acknowledged in a dialog with Autosport that Ducati was certainly contemplating Marquez as a sound choice as Bagnaia or Martin for one of many two manufacturing facility staff bikes for 2025: “We’re clearly considering of Marc as a doable manufacturing facility rider for then.”
“Paolo has at all times been very simple to work with. He’s very solvent and well mannered, empathetic and likewise affectionate. He by no means misplaced his mood” Jorge Lorenzo
The competitors for these two locations is anticipated to be one of many fiercest in latest occasions. Along with apparent candidates Bagnaia and Martin, a two-time world champion and the present runner-up respectively, we may even need to keep watch over the restoration capability of Enea Bastianini, after a 12 months by which accidents didn’t permit him to point out his finest efficiency.
On paper, one other of those that ought to compete for one of many two crimson Desmosedici is Marco Bezzecchi, whereas ready to know the course taken by VR46, and if it decides to resume its settlement with Ducati or change bike provider. To this competitors we should now add a determine as related as Marquez, who over the previous few months has had run-ins with a number of of his new model mates. It’s not shocking that a few of them could even really feel betrayed by the arrival of the Spaniard.
Completely no one believes that Gresini would have been in a position to shut Marquez’s deal with out Ducati’s approval. Or, at the very least, of those that wish to discover out what the six-time world champion is able to doing with certainly one of its bikes. Within the face of the approaching turmoil, many noticed Ciabatti as probably the most appropriate mediator, however any fires which may escape will now not be his drawback.
“This restructuring will be defined for 2 causes,” somebody accustomed to the operation defined to this author. “Initially, Ducati wished to offer significance to off-road, and Gigi is just not excited by that [off-road]. Paolo is the perfect individual to guide that new space. As well as, his departure from MotoGP will additional strengthen Dall’Igna, as a result of he removes a determine who may train a sure counterweight in his choices.”
Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Ciabatti’s departure strengthens Dall’Igna’s maintain inside Ducati