An Italian motorcycling website reported Wednesday that Aprilia Racing boss Gigi Dall'Igna informed his staff that he was leaving the company to take over Ducati's day-to-day racing program.
Ducati has wooed the respected Dall'Igna over the last few months, making two offers. Dall'Igna reportedly rejected the first offer due to insufficient salary and an inability to hire and fire engineers upon his arrival. But then Ducati reportedly returned with an open checkbook and carte blanche to clean house.
That looks to have been enough bait for Dall'Igna to swallow.
It's believed that Dall'Igna will fill the role left open when Ducati fired technical boss Filippo Preziosi after last season, a role Ducati Corse never filled this season. Bernhard Gobmeier clearly is in charge of the overall Ducati racing operation, but Dall'Igna apparently will be the brain behind the day-to-day decisions of the team.
This is a ballsy move for Dall'Igna. He has earned large respect in the World Superbike paddock for his successful work with Aprilia and also has helped the manufacturer make inroads back into MotoGP with its dominant Claiming Rule Teams machinery.
But Ducati these days can be kindly described as a hot mess. MotoGP factory rider Andrea Dovizioso, not one to create ripples, has openly ripped the team for a lack of engineering acumen. The team is third in the constructors standings, but far closer to fourth-place CRT standout ART than to second-place Yamaha. And the team's lucrative sponsorship with Philip Morris expires after the 2014 season amid rumors that the tobacco manufacturer - which can't advertise on the bikes due to rules - is unhappy with the team's poor results.
Good luck, Gigi. You're going to need it.