Furusawa reveals Ducati talks

Thursday, 23 August 2012

In an interview with Japanese MotoGP Expert Akira Nishimura, Masao Furusawa revealed how Ducati approached him to ask for his help to improve the Ducati Desmosedici.

An instrumental figure in Valentino Rossi's success at Yamaha, Masao Furusawa - the firm’s then Executive Officer of Engineering Operations, was recently approached by the Head of Ducati Corse, Filippo Preziosi to discuss ways to improve the Desmosedici GP12, a bike on which Rossi was only able to score a single podium this year in mixed conditions at le Mans.

In an interview with Akira Nishimura, Furusawa gave a detailed account of his talks with Filippo Preziosi held in Italy at the end of July.

"I gave him a talk about very fundamental things, such as how the motorcycle should be designed. He looked very impressed and wanted me to lecture his colleagues about it. Two days later, Filippo took his chassis engineer with him and we spoke once again in his home," explains Furusawa, who left Yamaha after the 2010 season - Rossi's last campaign for the Japanese factory before joining Ducati.

"I cannot disclose the information related to the Yamaha, and we didn’t discuss anything in the details. I have just explained them about my approach and the way of thinking, especially what I had done in 2004. For example, ‘centroid triangle’ - which is a triangle made from front and rear contact point with the ground and the center of the gravity of the bike - shouldn’t be shaped like this or that (gestures with his fingers to show the vertex goes too far to the front or rear side). Or, when they refer to the suspension, they always measure and express with the ‘stiffness’. But, my approach is different. I would take a look at a ’frequency’ of suspensions and try to make the front and rear frequencies as close to the same as possible. It makes the weight-transfer of the bike smoother. Although they are just generalities, I could manage with our bikes in those scientific approaches. What I explained to Filippo was those kinds of ideas of mine and the way of thinking."

"I had to ask him why he had called me. If I joined them and got good results, it would prove his previous developments had been wrong. Or, if I joined them and couldn’t do any good, it would also prove his decision was wrong. I asked him ‘Either way, it will be inevitable that you have to take responsibility. How come you have to take such a big risk?’ Filippo immediately answered with composure. ‘It doesn’t matter if I lose my position. I don’t care at all. All that I care is one thing; to make our bike better.’ When I heard his remarks I thought in my mind: Filippo, you have a real Samurai spirit..."

In the full interview, Furusawa also explained how he visited Rossi during his short stay in Italy, as the rider had heard about his long-time friend and key collaborator’s visit to his current employer.

With Rossi on his way to Yamaha for the two next seasons, and as Furusawa didn't want to create any friction between Ducati and Yamaha, this intriguing visit won't lead to any form of collaboration. Read the full interview on motomatters.com while the original interview in Japanese can be found on mr-bike.jp

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