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The Desmosedici GP7: Who, when and where?

The Desmosedici GP7: Who, when and where?

The standout machine of the 2007 season, the Ducati Desmosedici GP7 has been taken for a spin by 9 riders since its first run-out over a year ago.

The standout machine of the 2007 season, the Ducati Desmosedici GP7 has been taken for a spin by 9 riders since its first run-out over a year ago. The evolution of the red monster has been evident over the course of the past season, but all who have ridden it have been left impressed by the Filippo Preziosi-designed 800cc bike.

The first appearance of the GP7 was also the first time one of the 2007 prototypes was put through its paces, courtesy of Ducati test rider Vittoriano Guareschi on May 2nd 2006. The Italian took the bike for laps of the Mugello circuit in his homeland, a stone's throw away from the Borgo Panigalle factory where the latest Desmosedici was put together.

Whilst tests with Guareschi were something of a guarded event, the rest of the MotoGP field had the chance to see the GP7 in action in a post-GP event when regular rider Loris Capirossi first got his hands on his 2007 machine after the Czech Republic Grand Prix. The experienced Ducati rider took to the track as the one of the first full-time MotoGP riders on an 800cc bike at 12.20pm in Brno, undertaking 28 laps of the circuit with his fastest a 1'59.6, 1.5 seconds slower than his circuit record lap in the 2006 race.

Watching on as Capirossi rode his first laps were Guareschi and Shinichi Ito, the Ducati test team who would put in further work on the Desmosedici GP7 over the course of the season, and the Italian's then-team mate Sete Gibernau. The former World Championship runner-up had missed the race at Brno through injury in an unfortunate solitary season for Ducati. Capirossi's first impressions of the bike where that it was "different to the GP6; it's actually very enjoyable and rides more like a 250cc".

Gibernau had his maiden outing on the GP7 in Japan two races down the line, with his future with Ducati still to be confirmed. He agreed with Capirossi that the bike was a forward step, and even went round the Motegi circuit four tenths of a second quicker than the brake-testing Italian. In a telling sign for the 2007 season, Capirossi noted that the riders would have to change their style for the 800cc era.

"It is a different kind of bike, less powerful. We are going to have to change both our riding style and what it is to ride a premier class bike," stated the Ducati ever-present after the test, having won the Japanese Grand Prix in runaway fashion.

After the final race of the season in Valencia, the rider who has made the Desmosedici GP7 his own had his chance to get to grips with the machine, as Casey Stoner received special dispensation from LCR Honda team boss Lucio Cecchinello to make an early switch to Ducati. He made his debut alongside Capirossi at the Spanish circuit, whilst the returning Alex Barros and the freshly renewed Alex Hofmann would have to wait for their chance onboard the satellite 800cc machine.

On November 30th, Barros finally got his hands on the GP7, riding alongside Guareschi at Jerez de la Frontera. The track also saw the return of another 800cc debutant two months later; recently departed Pramac d'Antin rider Jose Luis Cardoso adding his name to the list of Desmosedici trialists when Guareschi was unavailable for a test at Cardoso's home circuit.

Every regular Ducati rider, including satellite team representatives Barros and Hofmann, topped the timesheets in post season testing. Once the season began, the quality of the new bike remained apparent with improved performances by Stoner and the non-factory team, but there would still be two more riders to try out the Desmosedici. When Guareschi crashed at the San Donato corner at Mugello in June, the final day of testing at the Italian track was completed by Superbike rider Ruben Xaus, whilst the most recent Desmosedici debutant has been Briton Chaz Davies as a stand-in for the injured Alex Hofmann two weeks ago at Laguna Seca.

With work on the GP8 scheduled for the near future, could Ducati create a bike which further pushes the boundaries of an 800cc machine's capabilities?

MotoGP, 2007

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