Team Ducati Fila launched in Milan

Ducati Corse and Fila launched their 2003 sporting programme with a presentation and dinner attended by 600 media, VIP and sponsor guests in Milan, Italy. The event took place in the Gilli Cube structure and marked the start of the partnership ...

Ducati Corse and Fila launched their 2003 sporting programme with a presentation and dinner attended by 600 media, VIP and sponsor guests in Milan, Italy. The event took place in the Gilli Cube structure and marked the start of the partnership between Ducati Corse and Fila. The Italian sportswear clothing manufacturer becomes Title Sponsor for the official World Superbike Championship team, now known as Team Ducati Fila and the Fila logo will also appear on the bikes and overalls of the riders of the Ducati Marlboro MotoGP Team, presented ten days ago, also in Milan.

The launch saw speeches from Ducati Motor Holding President Federico Minoli and Fila Vice-President Marketing, Andrea Zappia, as well as Ducati Corse Managing Director Claudio Domenicali.

"It gives me great pleasure to give a warm welcome to Fila, the new title sponsor of the team: a company that is a worldwide symbol for 'made in Italy' sportswear and which has decided to support our commitment to Superbike for the next two years," declared Domenicali.

"We have prepared a dedicated, self-sufficient Superbike structure, which can count on the managerial capacity of Paolo Ciabatti, the track experience of Davide Tardozzi, the engineering abilities of Ernesto Marinelli for technical direction and a completely new project with great potential: the Ducati 999, as well as two talented riders, Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus. The new structure and a new bike will make use of the experience accumulated in all the previous Superbike championships, which have always seen Ducati as one of the main protagonists."

Britain's Neil Hodgson, who has joined the team this year after finishing third in the 2002 championship, was upbeat about the new season after smashing the lap record during Valencia testing (February 21-23). "It's great to form part of Team Ducati Fila and this is a fantastic opportunity for me. I'm feeling really confident and the bike is fantastic. I know it's my job to say that but I really do feel relaxed and next weekend is showtime with the first round of the championship. I can't wait to be there!"

Spain's Ruben Xaus, who starts his third season with the factory Ducati Corse squad, was convinced that his combination of youth and experience would bring him positive results this year. "I am pleased to be in a team which thanks to a new 'young' sponsor such as Fila, has a completely new image. Thanks also to Ducati, which has given me an excellent technical squad, changed in many ways from last year, but I am sure that things will go really well for me in 2003."

The team, together with the Ducati 999, will make its first track appearance in the new Ducati Fila livery at next weekend's opening round of the 12-race World Superbike Championship, which takes place at Valencia, Spain.

-tdf-

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Series World Superbike
Drivers Neil Hodgson , Ruben Xaus , Davide Tardozzi