Ducati will have a "Junior team" in 2013 MotoGP comprised of American Ben Spies and Andrea "Crazy Joe" Iannone.
It is expected that Spies and Iannone will receive essentially the same motorcycles as factory Ducati riders Nick Hayden and Andrea Dovisioso--at least initially.
This is a remarkable change for Ducati's MotoGP effort as prior to this most satellite Ducati MotoGP teams were referred to--internally--as "the spare parts teams". Motorcycles were not always, or not ever, depending on the team/rider, on the same level as the factory Ducati motoGP bikes.
Running four seemingly factory-spec Ducati MotoGP bikes simultaneously is an expensive proposition. Like a nervous father looking over a dream wedding for his daughter--one wonders, who is paying for all of this?
Initial assumptions were that either Uncle Phil (Phillip Morris/Marlboro) or the new ownership group at Audi were kicking in the funds to float the new Ducati junior team.
However, at the moment, that doesn't seem to be the case.
So who is the Ducati MotoGP Junior Team's sponsor then?
While he still enjoys a close relationship with American Suzuki via his DMG Superbike team with riders Ben Bostrom and Roger Lee Hayden, Michael Jordan has flirted with Ducati several times in terms of running a Ducati Superbike team in the USA--as recently as 2011. Is the new sponsor Michael Jordan?
Probably not. Generally, Jordan does not air drop bales of his own cash so as to fix teams or situations that distress him, no matter how close a friendship he has with Ben Spies.
The identity of the Ducati Junior team sponsor at this time remains unknown, but rumors suggest that it will be an individual, not a company. The people who have access to that kind of money, and are interested in MotoGP are usually persons of some renown. Jordan associates have been lurking around Ducati at times this year. If not Jordan, then who?