MOTOR HOLDING PRESENTS ITS OFFER FOR THE ACQUISITION
OF THE MAJORITY SHARE OF APRILIA
Bologna, Italy, July 7, 2004 Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. (NYSE:
DMH, Borsa Italiana S.p.A: DMH), a leading manufacturer of high
performance motorcycles, has presented today an offer for the
acquisition of the majority share of the Aprilia Group.
This offer intends to solve the recent financial crisis of Aprilia
in order to re-establish its role as a leader, built up over years
of hard work and successes in the two-wheel market.
is based on the wish to promote the Italian two-wheel industry
consolidation. This new group, first of its kind in Europe, would
be able to compete successfully at a global level, thanks to the
strengths and peculiarities of each single brand, scale economies
and the technological excellence resulting from the combination
of each companyís competencies.
is a long-term industrial project,î said Federico Minoli,
Ducati Chairman and CEO. ìWe are not financial investors.
We are moved by passion and we are dedicated to the success of
Italian bikes worldwide. We are conscious that this success depends
on respecting and enhancing the different identities of each single
brand, each one directly linked with its products, its history
and its territory, where manufacturing sites have to be kept.
Technological competencies, the real asset of each company, could
be better used in an integrated and coherent development plan
that avoids duplication, and that concentrates its investment
efforts on technology and innovation. All together these companies
will have a great market penetration force, in particular abroad,
realizing in the meantime important synergies in sales structures
and distribution channels, as well as in purchasing and administrative
structures. Our Ducati turn-around experience leaves us confident
of the possibility of success and conscious of the responsabilities
we are assuming versus an industry sector that has always proudly
brought the Italian geniality and passion for the two-wheel industry
to the world."
1926, Ducati builds racing-inspired motorcycles characterized
by unique engine features, innovative design, advanced engineering
and overall technical excellence. The Company produces motorcycles
in five market segments which vary in their technical and design
features and intended customers: Superbike, Supersport; Monster,
Sport Touring and Multistrada. The Companyís motorcycles
are sold in more than 60 countries worldwide, with a primary focus
in the Western European, Japan and North American markets. Ducati
has won twelve of the last fourteen World Superbike Championship
titles and more individual victories than the competition put
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Grand Prix Preview July 16,17,18, 2003
TITLE PRESSURE MOUNTS AS MAX FINDS FORM
After a riveting
Rio Grand Prix two weeks ago where mighty Makoto Tamada (Camel
Honda RC211V), riding on Bridgestone tyres, recorded his first
win in the premier class, the show moves on to Germany.
was significant, but so was the fact that the two title protagonists
so far both failed to score points Sete Gibernau (Telefonica MoviStar
Honda RC211V) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) failed to finish the
This is the
first time this season neither of those riders has scored and
it was left to Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) to pick up the
points for second and close to within 13 points of the leading
duo who are still locked on 126 points apiece. This key German
race now marks the halfway point of this 16-race season and none
of the leading riders can afford to slip up here.
this was where Gibernau defeated Rossi in one of the great races
of the 2003 season. And there's no reason why this year's contest
should be any less enthralling. If both men succumbed to the undoubted
pressure in Brazil, then the pair have to take a more measured
approach here in Germany. If they don't, then the wily Biaggi
could well be the benefactor.
is where the Grand Prix circus returns to more familiar ground.
Rio, like Welkom in South Africa, is something of a one-off race,
and unpredictable for that. This is a familiar environment 50-miles
south-west of Dresden in eastern Germany and although some riders
don't like this roller-coaster of a track they are at least more
acquainted with it.
Built near the old public roads circuit, the new Sachsenring is
a mere five miles from the old MZ factory the birthplace of the
modern two-stroke engine. The track is now 3.671km long after
a downhill right-hand bend was added for last year's race. This
is now one of the epic corners in Grand Prix racing.
more than just one majestic bend to this demanding track. This
is a flowing track that works riders and tyres hard. Rubber gets
little time to recover between turns and the right-hand side of
the tyre gets little work to get it up to temperature in the early
laps before huge demands are made of it in the downhill plunge.
is one of the slowest of the 16 venues only three tracks have
a lower top speed. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) recorded 283 km/h
here in 2003. Indeed, some riders use only four gears out of six
available such is the tight nature of this track. Riders also
use less full throttle than at any other track.
among the riders that find it tough here, despite his win last
year. "It's slow and difficult," he said. "But
then again it was one of the best races of my life last year.
The last two turns offer good overtaking opportunities and the
descent is the quickest and the most difficult part of the track.
The bike settings need to be spot-on to get drive out of the slower
turns. But the crowd is amazing and I have lots of support from
fan clubs based here."
the Sachsenring represents a challenge and the Roman appreciates
the demands it makes on a rider. "The track is winding with
no real straight," he said. "It's unique. You need a
very agile bike and you need it set-up by Saturday because the
way qualifying is going these days a front row start is a must.
A good grid position is vital here because the first part of the
track is very narrow and it doesn't open out until the last part
you don't have time to make up positions if you get a bad start
pole here last year and also holds the lap record at 1m 24.630s.
But his team-mate Tamada will be a threat here. The Japanese rider
has endured a great loss recently having flown to Japan last weekend
for his Mother's funeral. Grief notwithstanding, Tamada will be
racing to win as ever.
(Repsol Honda RC211V) is hardly a fan of this track, but after
a tough home race in Brazil, he needs to get back in the groove
here as the halfway point of the season approaches. "I'm
hoping we can make progress here," he said. "The season
so far has been pretty frustrating for the team. There are times
when the bike feels great in practice and then it all goes wrong.
Sometimes it's the other way round. We had front-end trouble in
Rio and this is a track where you don't want front end trouble."
Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) has been showing stronger as
the season gels and after a third place in Rio, he needs another
big result. "The Rio result came at the right time,"
said the American. "I've had ups and downs this season and
I need to string another race together with a front row start
and a podium finish. I didn't qualify so well here last year,
but I enjoyed the race and learned a lot. I need a few strong
finishes to get me where I need to be in the Championship."
(Telefonica MoviStar Honda RC211V) has been consistent this year,
but not as far up the finishing order as he would like. "This
is a strange, tight track," said the Texan. "The tyres
are under a lot of strain and it's vital to make the right choice
so they don't overheat on the left-side. Then there's the downhill
right that you have to be careful on in the first few laps because
that side of the tyre takes a bit more time to get up to temperature.
It's not a track I really like."
Desmosedici! FastDates.com takes an exclusive visit inside the
Ducati Corse MotoGP Race Shop! Plus
- See our visit to
Ducati Racing School
At Misani Italy!
Tyre industry evolving
OVER past decades, the tyre industry has been a relatively stable
market, dominated by only a handful of major names.
Historically, domestic tyre markets prospered and the main players
were able to thrive as sales in motor vehicles boomed. This was
particularly true in America, whose production of tyres overshadowed
that of the rest of the world.
situation is very different, with fierce competition from Europe
and, more importantly, from developing industries in the Far East.
In the USA, only Cooper and Goodyear-Dunlop remain. The main competitors
are: in Japan, Bridgestone-Firestone; in France, Michelin; in
Germany, Continental, Metzeler and the Italian Pirelli brand;
in the UK, the Cooper subsidiary Avon. Of course, many of these
firms exist now in a very different corporate format to that in
which they started out, with numerous brand purchases and mergers.
The growing Asian tyre market comprises Japanese companies such
as Toyo and Yokohama, Hankook and Kumho in Korea, and Vee Rubber
in Thailand. The latter firms are forcing down prices and increasing
pressure on the industry by profiting from low labour costs.
still the world's largest tyre company, and its plant in Tonawanda,
New York, has recent and continuing capital investments in excess
of $6.8 million (€5.61 million), which include a development
programme for motorcycle tyres. That said, the company is facing
significant financial problems and has incurred a high amount
of debt. Over the past three years, the manufacturer has lost
more than $2 billion (€1.7 billion). This has led to job
cuts, the closure of plants and the refinancing of loans.The
outcome of this dynamic phase in the history of tyre manufacturing
is difficult to predict, but the battle for domination of global
trade continues to intensify.