Ducati Superbike project director Ernesto Marinelli will depart the company at the end of 2017 after 22 years heading for parts unknown.
Marinelli has always been involved in Superbike racing for the Bologna-based manufacturer. In 1997 he worked as track engineer in the factory team with Carl Fogarty and Neil Hodgson in the production-based world championship and then from 1998 to 2000 he was head of Ducati’s AMA Superbike programme in the USA with riders Anthony Gobert, Ben Bostrom, Troy Bayliss and John Kocinski.
On his return to Europe in 2001 Ernesto Marinelli was Ben Bostrom’s track engineer for two years in the Superbike World Championship before taking on the role of SBK Technical Director in 2003 and then Ducati SBK Project Manager starting in 2010.
During his career in Ducati Ernesto Marinelli has contributed to the conquest of numerous world titles and in particular, under his technical direction, the Italian manufacturer won five Riders’ world titles (Hodgson in 2003, Toseland in 2004, Bayliss in 2006 and 2008 and Checa in 2011) as well as six Manufacturers’ world titles (2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011). In November 2006 Marinelli was also track engineer for Troy Bayliss in that fantastic MotoGP race at Valencia, which the Australian rider won in his only race that year as replacement for Sete Gibernau.
“After 22 years it’s not easy to say goodbye and turn over a new leaf and if you leave a company like Ducati, the decision becomes even more difficult. Nevertheless, for each and every one of us, the time comes to raise the bar and face up to further challenges. I’m leaving Ducati in the knowledge that I have lived numerous unforgettable and successful moments, sharing passion, dreams and satisfaction, as well as defeats, disappointments and difficulties,” he said.
“All of these have marked and shaped my professional career and they have helped me to understand that ‘never give up’ is not just a saying but to all intents and purposes a style of life. For my future, I’ve decided to accept a new professional challenge and put myself to the test again, albeit with the awareness that everything I leave behind will always have an important place in my memories and my heart.
“A big thanks to Ducati. Thank you to all the many fantastic people who have shared with me these years of hard work, travel and circuits all over the world. There are still four races to go before the end of my final season in SBK, and it will be an even more special and motivating reason for me to continue to fight and win together, before saying farewell to all my colleagues and the Ducatisti, with whom I’ll continue to share friendship and passion, and with whom I’ll still be supporting our red bikes from Borgo Panigale.”