Desmosedici GP9 specifics explained at Ducati launch

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Ducati chief Claudio Domenicali outlined the improvements which have been made to the Desmosedici GP9 in preparation for the 2009 MotoGP World Championship, at the Ducati Wrooom event in Italy.

With the Desmosedici GP9 officially unveiled to the press at Ducati´s annual Wrooom event in the Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio this week, Ducati Corse CEO and Ducati Motor Holding Product Director Claudio Domenicali has explained the updates that have been made to the machinery ahead of the 2009 season.

The Italian boss told the media on Wednesday, `The new bike is a major change, and it is the first time for many years that we are changing our concept. The trellis frame is part of the Ducati DNA, we have done lots of tests, and there are lots more still to do, but it seems to us that it is the right way to go.´

He continued, `It presents us with quite an innovative structure, with the new carbon fibre frame linking the upper part of the engine with the steering block. It´s complex image-wise, as the trellis frame has been the basis of our bikes for a long time, but it also demonstrates that the best solutions can come from innovation. The old style frame is still good and will continue to be in our road-bikes but we are keen to test the new system.´

On the specifics of the 2009 motor itself Domenicali revealed the that the work of Filippo Preziosi, General Director of Ducati Corse, is ongoing, stating, `In the engine itself we are working on new mapping settings, and we are trying to flatten out the torque curve as much as possible. We want to make the engine as driveable as possible, we have the power, but we are now focusing on a linear engine response.´

The factory leader also explained that cost control also affects the current engine development philosophy, noting, `Along with the other members of the MSMA we are working on making changes, mainly for 2010, to improve the economic situation mainly for the satellite teams but also for the sport in general. It is important to have strict cost control and balance as much as possible the costs versus the revenues, and all manufacturers have to find this common goal.´

`We think one way of doing this may be to make the engines last longer, to last more races. This will help reduce costs significantly. Currently we get about 600-800km out of one engine, but we hope to be able to double that.´

Speaking openly about the figures involved in the Ducati racing programme Domenicali said, `Out of our budget of 40 million euros, about 70-75% is dedicated to the MotoGP project, but we must not forget that in amongst that is revenue from sponsors, from organisers and from licensing. We think we have a good balance but know that most important is to look at the management costs to try and reduce them.´

Giving his opinion on what had prevented Casey Stoner and the Ducati team from retaining the MotoGP crown which was won so spectacularly in 2007 Domenicali acknowledged the brilliance of one of his compatriots as the key factor, declaring, `If we had not encountered Valentino Rossi in our way last year we would have been there again. He found incredible strength and all credit to him for that. Casey Stoner is still young and has a massive potential for growth and improvement, and he and the team will learn from last year.´

The major news in the Ducati camp this winter has been the arrival of another big star amongst their ranks, namely Nicky Hayden, of whom Domenicali enthused, `We are very happy to have Nicky in our squad as we have wanted him for a long time. He is a World Champion, a real fighter and I think he will be a perfect partner to Casey. They can communicate well and he is also very fast so he will push Casey along too.´

`It was hard at first in the tests for him, but on the final day in Jerez we were very happy with the results and look forward to testing once again in February. Our bike is peculiar, we know this, and we know that not all riders have always got on with it, but we know it can go fast and think Nicky is capable of doing that.´

Meanwhile, describing the relationship with the factory´s satellite partners and the decision to run five bikes in 2009 Domenicali admitted, `The satellite GP9 will not be exactly the same bike as the factory machines, but it is very similar. It will look practically the same and will be able to do good races. Having the input from five riders instead of two is of course a help, but it will be Filippo who will make the decisions on which direction we go with the machine.´

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