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The Ducati Desmosedici D16 GP4 uncovered

The Ducati Desmosedici D16 GP4 uncovered

The Ducati Desmosedici D16 GP4 uncovered

One year on from their exciting debut in the MotoGP World Championship, Ducati have returned with a new, improved version of the stunning Desmosedici machine which they hope will break the dominance of the Honda RC211V. The Italian factory, who were able to build an instantly competitive four-stroke machine thanks to their years of success in the World Superbike series, have now also been able to call on the experience of 16 Grand Prix races and 30 days of private testing data acquired by the Ducati Marlboro Team during the 2003 season with Loris Capirossi, Troy Bayliss and test rider Vittoriano Guareschi. On the 2004 version of the machine, known as the D16 GP4, more than 60% of the 915 individual components that make up the bike are totally different and cannot be interchanged with the previous version - changes that Ducati Corse Technical Director Filippo Preziosi believes will improve the all round competitiveness of the Desmosedici.

"The experience we gained in 2003 was fundamental for the creation of the GP4" explains Mr Preziosi. "With the aim of improving the bike's overall performance and rider comfort, we intervened in various areas of the chassis and the engine. The result is a major evolution of last year's bike. The project is very young and it is natural that in this phase, the changes will make the GP4 considerably different to the GP3, albeit remaining faithful to the basic philosophy."

The D16 GP4 has numerous differences in the following areas:

Bodywork: outwardly similar to the previous version, the bodywork has been completely redesigned in order to improve cooling while maintaining the bike's excellent aerodynamic characteristics. It is also made up of four components instead of two in order to improve access for the mechanics.

Front mudguard: a new larger front mudguard improves the aerodynamics and increases airflow towards the radiator.

Front fork: the front fork maintains the stiffness of the latest 2003 version, but uses 42mm instead of 50mm forks, which enables weight to be saved.

Exhaust system: the exhaust system is produced in titanium by Termignoni and has been completely redesigned. It sports two ‘two-into-one' pipes, with the vertical cylinder head arrangement terminating under the tail unit, like last year and in the best Ducati tradition. The horizontal cylinder arrangement terminates on the right of the bodywork. The new exhaust lay-out has enabled the fuel tank to be modified and furthermore has been designed to improve power delivery.

Fuel tank: this extends under the seat to improve centralization of the masses. It sports an indentation in the front part, which contains the main electrical components. This modification has also been made to centralize the masses.

Swing-arm: in pressed aluminium, this has been completely redesigned and is lighter than the previous version while retaining the same stiffness.

Frame: tubular steel frame, typical of all Ducati production. The 2004 version is different in the engine mountings, making it easier to assemble and remove the engine itself. The dimensions are the same as the 2003 version.

Airbox: the airbox is larger than the previous version, thus contributing to an increase in power and a difference in the torque curve.

Engine: the engine has a new combustion chamber and a number of changes have been made to reduce internal attrition. Further changes have also been made to reduce weight. The result is more power (now in excess of 230 HP at 16,500 rpm, an increase of around 10 HP and 500 rpm on the 2003 version).

Electronics: Magneti Marelli electronic hardware is the same as 2003 but new software has been developed.

"All the technical partners with whom we are in contact on a daily basis have contributed in a decisive way to the development of the Desmosedici and the increase in performance" continues Mr Preziosi. "To mention just two, Shell Advance, together with whom we develop lubricants capable of improving the performance and reliability of our engine, and Michelin, with whom, amongst other things, we are developing 16.5" front tyres, which have been used successfully for many years by Ducati Corse in Superbike".

This evolution will continue throughout the racing season on Ducati Corse test-benches and on computers, guaranteeing not only a continuous improvement in performance, but also a constant increase in Ducati know-how, which will be used for the development of road-bikes.

DUCATI DESMOSEDICI Technical Specifications

Engine: liquid-cooled, 90 degree V4 four-stroke, desmodromic DOHC, four valves per cylinder.

Capacity: 989cc

Maximum power: 169kW/230+ HP @ 16500rpm

Maximum torque: approx. 100Nm/10.2kgm @ 14000rpm

Maximum speed: in excess of 330 kph/205 mph

Transmission: Six-speed cassette-type gearbox, with alternative gear ratios available. Dry multiplate slipper clutch. Chain final drive.

Carburation:Indirect Magneti Marelli electronic injection, four throttle bodies with injectors above butterfly valves.

Fuel: Shell Racing V-Power

Lubricant: Shell Advance Ultra 4

Ignition: Magneti Marelli

Exhaust: Termignoni, two x two-into-one system

Frame: Tubular steel trellis-style chassis, pressed aluminium swing-arm.

Suspension: Öhlins upside-down 42mm front forks and Öhlins rear shock absorber, adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping.

Tyres: Michelin, 17" or 16.5" front, 16.5" rear.

Brakes: Brembo, two 320mm carbon front discs with four-piston callipers. Single stainless steel rear disc with two-piston calliper.

Dry weight: 148kg

MotoGP, 2003

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