Italian outfit VFT Racing has announced its plans to race a Ducati Panigale R at a handful of rounds of the 2017 World Superbike Championship with rider Fabio Menghi, though are yet to reveal which ones.

VFT Racing, a Menghi family-run effort, stepped up to the Superbike class in 2016 having spent a number of fairly competitive years in the World Superport Championship aboard Yamaha machinery.

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However, their season got off to the worst start imaginable as Menghi was injured in a heavy fall during a test at Phillip Island. Suffering a fractured hip and three broken shoulder tendons, Menghi only contested the Misano round.

Italian Matteo Baiocco subbed for his countryman from Thailand through to his home round at Imola, whilst former WorldSSP race winner Luca Sacassa filled in at Sepang and Donington, and then from Germany onwards. The team ended the year 12th in the standings on 22 points.

Still recovering, though in a better shape than he was eight months ago, Menghi will use these wildcards to prepare for a full-time return to WorldSBK next season.

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“It was tough to get back on track after eight months without even riding on a simple scooter,” he said.

“These tests in Cartagena were important because they allowed me to begin to find the right motivation, and the feeling with the bike and the circuit.

“I enjoyed it, the feeling is positive and I can already be competitive after a few laps. I am working closely with the guys in the gym in Rimini, so I feel ready to get back out there.

“I will be the only VFT Racing team rider for this season because both the team sponsors have faith in me, and I’d like to thank them for the support they give me.”