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SBK, Ducati and Aruba: zero hour triggered at Assen with the intrigue of Bautista and Iannone

THE OTHER RACE - Costs, plans and the future: Grassilli will arrive directly from Austin to meet with Cecconi and discuss the expiring renewal. Many topics on the table: from the hiring of riders to the technical development of the Panigale with the new V4 R model that won't arrive next year. Plus the future of Bautista and Iannone.

SBK: Ducati and Aruba: zero hour triggered at Assen with the intrigue of Bautista and Iannone

It has been a 10-year journey, which started on the track in 2015, and which has brought joy, triumph and success over time. As we've said many times before: the secret of Stefano Cecconi, aka Mr. Aruba, a visionary in his own right in contributing to innovation and speeding up the country's technological process thanks to his company, has been to revive and not give up cultivating that dream of rewriting history with Ducati.

Stefano has achieved his mission so successfully that he has brought the Borgo Panigale company back to the top of the world in Superbike after a wait of more than 10 years. Now, however, it is time to sit down at the table and figure out which direction to take for the future because the contract between Ducati and Aruba is expiring and the watchword is renewal.

That may well be, but on what basis?

In fact, Mauro Grassilli, who from this year holds the role of sporting director for Ducati, picking up the baton from Paolo Ciabatti, is expected to arrive at the TT weekend in Assen. The Italian manager will arrive directly from Austin to sit at the negotiating table along with Cecconi and Daniele Casolari, that is the boss of Feel Racing.

On the table is the issue related to the technical development of the Panigale V4. What kind of support will Ducati offer Aruba with a view to the future? Certainly for next year the V4 R will be the same as this last season in the hope that 2026 might be the right year for the arrival of the new bike. We might be wrong, but maybe in Aruba they were expecting a state-of-the-art Panigale as early as 2025....

Having said that, there is then the chapter regarding the hiring of riders. This is the second issue, considering that the cost has always been borne by Stefano Cecconi himself. Speaking of riders, the priority is certainly to continue with Alvaro Bautista, hoping that the Spaniard decides not to hang up his helmet.

If not, Ducati and Aruba will have to face the problem on a possible replacement with the last word obviously going to Stefano Cecconi. The main candidate seems to be Andrea Iannone in case of BauBau's retirement, but on the subject Aruba's number one has not yet said anything, in view of the potential shown by Bulega and the balance established within the team.

So it seems that in Assen there will be two face-to-face confrontations: the first the one on the track, the other in the paddock with Ducati and Aruba as protagonists. At stake are the next three years.


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