Ducati has just unveiled the 2023 factory bikes and teams, presenting the MotoGP and SBK teams (here all the info and photos). The goal is to confirm, in one important season because it represents 20 years of Ducati in the MotoGP: Capirossi’s first success in the 2003 Barcelona GP, the world title of Casey Stoner in 2007, then Valentino, Lorenzo, Dovizioso; today Pecco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini. In these 20 years, the Borgo Panigale manufacturer has evolved, welcoming Luigi Dall’Igna as general manager of Ducati Corse at the end of 2014. Is exactly Dall’Igna to reveal some previews of the next seasoncharacterized by many novelties, a start with the Sprint Race.
Do you think you have to train the riders in a completely different and more explosive way of racing, perhaps dedicating some space to it already in the first Sepang tests?
“The Sprint Race won’t be a revolution, but it’s certainly something different and I think very spectacular. The driver will certainly have to change his mentality, because the management of the sprint race is very different compared to the traditional one: the tires will have no problems getting to the finish and I think there won’t be any major constraints also from the point of view of fuel consumption. It will be a race in which the rider will have to give everything, right from the start, without strategizing too much and for this everyone will have to arrive prepared”.
Bastianini, for example, defines himself as a “diesel”; Will someone like him have to work harder to be competitive in the Spint Race?
“Enea showed us that the final part of the race is the one in which he performs best and to stay ahead in the Sprint Race he will necessarily have to change some things. But already last year he was called to a change when it was necessary for him to improve his position on the grid and he did. So I expect him to work to get competitive already in the first of the sprint races ”.
On the other hand, how will the technical management of the bikes change?
“There will be important innovations, because the engine or engines that will have to be used during the season will be more stressed; it will be essential to review the engine life management strategy. At Sepang we will make the necessary assessments to refine these concepts”.
Is there a possibility that some power will be taken away from the engines? Double races equal double wear?
“It doesn’t double the wear, but a dedicated strategy will be needed. Now I can’t tell you what solution we’re going to use. I’ll have clearer ideas after the Sepang tests”.
Ducati is synonymous with innovation and last year you put a lot of irons on the fire; will you be calmer this year from this point of view?
“As you rightly say, Ducati is inclined to innovate and consequently to take risks. But we are people who learn from mistakes and so when we have ideas we put them to the test, ready to discard them if they prove unable to lead us to take significant steps forward”.
One of the topics under discussion is the rider’s weight; Bautista won the SBK World Championship, where size is perhaps more important than in MotoGP, where the power of the bikes could level out the physical characteristics. Do you think weight is so important?
“For a technician, weight is always something to be reduced as much as possible, but a distinction must be made between fixed mass (which is that of the bike) and moving mass, i.e. the rider. The weight in this case could also be an advantage, because it’s like having a mobile ballast on the bike, capable of moving in the various riding phases, putting weight where it is needed; for this reason, overall, it is not certain that a heavier driver is penalized more”.
For example, under braking a heavier rider fights better than a smaller one.
“Exactly, but we can also analyze the lean of the bike when cornering: if you can lean more in the end, the bike leans less and therefore the tires work in a better area, with the consequence of having more grip available. This is an objective concept, also because the heavier riders are also the taller ones and can lean out more than the smaller ones, who have a more concentrated mass”.
Modern MotoGP bikes are based on crazy technical development; yet, many consider the return of Marc Marquez threatening. Despite everything, does the driver still make the difference?
“In fact it is the man who wins. Even among riders who use the same bike, there is always one who excels. Especially in the motorbike world this difference is important and from this point of view we are happy with the riders we have for 2023″.
Let’s go back in time for a moment, when Lorenzo had more difficulty adapting to the Desmosedici than Dovizioso. Was the reason in the Ducati characteristic of requiring greater physical effort, compared to the technical and superfine riding with which Jorge was endowed?
“Honestly, I think Lorenzo felt the need to completely change his riding style, which is by no means easy. Yamaha and Ducati have to ride in totally different ways and this is an aspect that we perhaps underestimated at the time. It takes time to understand the automatisms and be able to exploit the full potential of a new bike. But, in addition to this, physical preparation is certainly essential; talent is no longer enough”.
Instead, let’s end up talking about new technologies, namely the MotoE: how challenging was the development of a battery-powered motorcycle, compared to a modern MotoGP or SBK?
“Doing the MotoE was something completely new; it is a bike that due to its physical characteristics weighs more than all those we have worked on up to now. This, together with a completely different delivery, requires quite unusual geometries. I’m talking about wheelbase and weight distribution. That was the beauty of this project, from my point of view. We first developed it in simulation and then directly on the track with Pirro, De Angelis, Davies and the other team testers, which allowed us to begin to understand something of this new world”.
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