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Ducati Desmosedici GP15; Gigi Takes His Shot at Changing MotoGP Fortunes (with video)

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Gigi Dall’Igna was hired to put Ducati’s MotoGP effort on the right track … after years of frustration and failure. The first Ducati MotoGP bike designed from the ground up by Dall’Igna’s new team is now on display, the Desmosedici GP15.  Apparently, Ducati will reveal some details about the bike shortly, but don’t expect too much.  Secrets have great value in the world of MotoGP design.

Nevertheless, knowledgeable observers can tell from photos of the GP15 that packaging of the engine, and weight distribution, are fundamentally different from past Desmosedici. Still a 90° v-4, the engine appears physically smaller and rocked backwards significantly in the all-new chassis. This will allow Ducati to do a couple of things that will impact the handling of the bike.  First, Ducati can move the crank forward, putting more weight over the front end. Second, with the front cylinder bank out of the way, Ducati can significantly alter the steering geometry, particularly with a steeper rake.

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Those who recall Casey Stoner, even when he was setting pole and winning races for Ducati, losing the front and crashing far too often, will appreciate what Dall’Igna is trying to do. With Ducati’s impressive showing at the recent Sepang test on the older bike, Dall’Igna flatly states the goal now is to win races.  We will see.

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24 Comments

  1. Ron H says:

    The advantage Ducati’s has is…

    – 12 engines per rider per season with no design freeze

    – More fuel (24 liters)

    – More tires (addition of an extra soft compound rear) as Open Class.

    – Unlimited testing.

  2. Brinskee says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for the high res photos. I didn’t realize Ducati moved away from Termignoni to Akrapovic exhausts and now looking back I realize they did this last year. Wonder what was being it, performance or sponsorship dollars? In any case I wish Ducati luck with this year’s GP testing efforts. I can’t imagine they will fight for podiums early on since this is an entirely new platform. Gigi obviously has enough confidence in this design to state that the goal is one race win this season and Do I has won before but that Iannone sure looks fast too.

    Looking at the bike more closely I’m also seeing some venting on the tank – looks pretty similar to what Yamaha does. For those with the inside track (Hi NormG) is this a design element or does it serve a functional role?

    Not for nothing but I prefer the aesthetics of last year’s bike over this one but that could be partly due to the paint job. I hope it goes fast and corners well for Ducati and MotoGP sake. Gonna be a fun season.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “is this a design element or does it serve a functional role?

      dunno, the ‘Talians were prolly all standing in a row on cigarette break in front of the Yamaha garages one day and thought they looked “cool”…?

      design elements on vehicles produced in Italy generally don’t require any more explanation than that.

  3. Bmac says:

    Do any of you follow motogp? I assume you know that ducati is playing by different rules? Please look it up as I have a bad cold and don’t want to type all of that.

  4. Neil says:

    It looks fast. “Casey, what do you think? Ave a go then, mayte!?” Actually the Italians are riding quite well these days. They should be able to push this thing onto the podium. It’s a gyroscope so it needs to turn in quick. Low triple clamps so it should turn in quick.

  5. TLS_MAN says:

    Why do people keep saying Ducati has some sort of advantage. The rules were open to any factory that was willing to share their software. Honda and Yamaha weren’t willing and Ducati was. Why any team attempting to develop a bike would chose Factory designation and all its limitations would be baffling. Honda has resources that none of the other factory teams posses and continually pushes changes that they have already developed. That is why even Yamaha is continually playing catchup. I wish Dorna would grow a pair and put forth rules that corral some of the expensive and useless rules pushed forth by the manufacturers. Having said that, I hope that this bike is a success so that more riders have an opportunity to challenge for the championship.

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: Why do people keep saying Ducati has some sort of advantage(?)

      A: laymen perceptions carried over from WSBK mostly.

      re: “I wish Dorna would grow a pair”

      sorry, that’s a conflict of interest when stop and look at it. therein, it’s not reasonable to expect any individual or entity to make a conscious decision to “bite the hand” that’s feeding them. it’s not how any human being operates.

      at this very moment, the powers that be are going hammer/tongs to ensure the Golden Goose from the 1st decade of MotoGP (ie. Ross) is supplanted by the Golden Goose for the 2nd decade of MotoGP (ie. Marcus). until this mission objective is secure…? there will be no discussion of “other”.

      and even AFTER it’s secure, there will be no discussions.

  6. This does not look like it was constructed by the same people as were the bikes in the Rossi/Ducati era. Purposeful, racey! (And yeah, I can see a little Honda in there.) Can’t wait to see her on-track!
    No matter what happens with the rules, it would be nice to see Ducati continue to close the gap to the front. Just one more thing to add to the intrigue at Sepang 2, and beyond.

    • xlayn says:

      “I can see a little Honda in there” +1… imitation, the sincerest form of flattery, or as Mr. Jobs would say it… great artists steal.

  7. Ron H says:

    That front fairing looks fishy to me. I suppose Ducati will still have enjoy the rules being bent for them in MotoGP.

  8. Apeman says:

    Duconda RCV-GP15 !

  9. pete Rasmussen says:

    I wish them the best of luck with it. Would be great to see them racing at the front again. this will be a great year in motogp, bring it on!

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “knowledgeable observers can tell from photos of the GP15 that packaging of the engine, and weight distribution, are fundamentally different from past Desmosedici.”

    this knowledgeable observer resists the urge to read too much into a photo. he sees 2 wheels and says, “yup, what you got right there is a motorcycle”.

    re: “the engine appears physically smaller and rocked backwards significantly in the all-new chassis.”

    which stands to reason considering the engine was already physically small from it’s inception, and had been repositioned in the GP13, 14, 14.1, 14.2, etc yet turned out NOT to be the panacea everyone thought it to be.

    let’s just hope what is surely their first HIGHLY adjustable ally twin-spar (think 25 years Aprilia 2-stroke grandprix) allows enough “adjustment” for the changeover to 17″ Michelins. on this all depends. (Yoda voice) not to disappoint anyone, but what’s about to begin inside Camp Ducati season 2015 isn’t “proper racing”…?

    it’s proper testing.

    • pete Rasmussen says:

      I guess thats why they call it a “prototype”. Stating the obvious!

    • Dave says:

      With the twins they claimed that rotating the engine forward was the way to move the weight forward. This must be a much heavier crankshaft (4 cylinders or not, it has to absorb 250+ hp..).

      • xlayn says:

        Remember that in this cases, HP is more related to RPM (as displacement is set by DORNA), a quick review of the formulas related to HP can be seen here:

        http://www.iprocessmart.com/techsmart/formulas.htm

        the first example makes a direct correlation between torque and RPM, but as some certain NG around stated in a previous comment, internal combustion engines are pumps, therefore the third equation could apply and as all the other variables are the same the efficiency of the pump (how easily engine breathes both in and out) becomes critical….

        but at this point, everything makes a point… position of the engine, tires, style of driving, ECU (is not surprising that Honda and Y doesn’t share their setups)… aerodynamics, frontal area… weight of the driver, cooling efficiency of the engine, type of driving the valves (e.g. the desmodromic vs springs)… the type and amount of oil… every thing adds it’s .5 percent… add then 20 features and you have that 10% of extra something that makes the bike unbeatable

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “With the twins they claimed that rotating the engine forward was the way to move the weight forward.”

        never heard that claimed personally, as the L twin layout has been like that for what seems like Centuries going back to even before Taglioni’s 4V Pantah with the Bevel drive stuff. the forward positioning was dictated more by the need to also fit an airbox (of sufficient volume) and the need to feed air to said airbox. thoughts/preoccupations with “weight distribution” hadn’t even entered the picture.

        with the use of a trellis frame and more broader use tyres being fitted, the complaint or “need to move weight forward” is not a phrase that was ever spoke or heard in Ducati world in the past 25 years.

        in fact I tell you with certainty, it’s only something I’ve heard laymen on about in the context of grandprix and inside the past few years (like 3-5). it is a NEW phenomena, which adds up considering they themselves are baby young to grandprix and motorbikes in general.

    • xlayn says:

      Right… as some times you are… (I know this is going to make you go mad)
      the first clue about it is the “piece of engine”, wheel? cover? that appears above the side of the spar frame and how the machines “looks” or “feels” chubby by in the middle.

      two things come to my mind:
      1) what’s that under the seat?
      2) it has to be painful when a GP motorcycle is crashed and you see pieces of carbon, titanium, magnesium and aluminum everywhere…

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I know this is going to make you go mad”

        that tears it xlayn, I am beside myself with anger. LOL 🙂

  11. mickey says:

    Beautiful. All that detailed hand work was neat to see. Then probably first practice someone is going to high side that baby and flip it end over end down the track with shards of beautifully detailed body work looking like shrapnel. They should have unpainted practice bikes. I always feel sorry for the mechanics when a racer wads one up and brings it back to the pits all broken and bent.

  12. Gutterslob says:

    That front-end!! Is Ducati getting into the porn business?