Guest Blog - Mat Oxley: Ducati: it’s going to take time is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We will be featuring sections of Oxley's blogs, posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website, over the coming months.

You can imagine the gasps of disbelief when Ducati unveiled its GP13 atop a mountain in the Dolomites last night: the bike is pretty much a GP12 with a new paintjob. How can that be? Surely the Ducati needs a total redesign more than any other motorcycle on the MotoGP grid?

That is indeed true – at the end of 2012 Ducati were no closer to the front than they had been at the start of 2011, when Valentino Rossi arrived to take over from Casey Stoner.

Yesterday morning someone asked Nicky Hayden – entering his fifth season with the Bologna brand – what he wanted from the GP13. A softer engine and less understeer, please, he said; which is pretty much exactly what he had asked for the previous few years.

So why haven’t Ducati addressed his requests and totally transformed the engine and chassis of the Desmosedici for 2013?

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Maybe the engine is softer. Bit harder to tell that from a photo... but then the new boss has been there how long?

"Maybe the engine is softer. Bit harder to tell that from a photo... but then the new boss has been there how long?"

Soft castings :-) Haven't aged as long ?:-)

Ducati are already talking about the 2014 rule changes offering them an opportunity to become competitive again.

That sounds like code for: 2013 is going to suck.

but this line disturbs me: "...Desmosedici’s ‘sacred’ 90 degree V4 will remain the heart of the machine." To hear this from the Ducati Corse general manager is a bit disheartening.
I've owned 3 Ducatis over the years...but am I the only person out here who thinks that the "sacred 90 degree V4" should be put on the table as a possible item to be changed? Haven't they tried everything else?

I think that all that is being held 'sacred' is the desmo operation.
To me the classic Ducati is the L2. The GP bikes could use any angle they like. At the rev levels they operate at the L2 sound wouldn’t be the same anyway. Dry clutches and trellis frames – lovely characterful stuff. But it’s for the road in my mind and the race bikes need to win. So, it’s whatever it takes to do that.
The Panigale moves things on a bit for L2’s, but it’s probably very near the realistic limit for that engine format, and the regulations that modern road bikes have to pass.
I would expect that if a V75-4 won races most of us would ignore the fact that all the bikes we had bought were different….. A 916/996/998 is still plenty fast enough and has good enough brakes etc. for the road. But, if you think S1000RR HP4 when you weigh one road bike against another then the Panigale and the latest tech are probably going to be what you want.
If they’re winning, most people would want the nearest they could get to the MGP or WSB spec. After a few years the old L2 would be forgotten, like most historic race engines.
Winning – that’s all Ducati needs to survive. There is no ‘L’ in Ducati, team, or winning. It is handy in Scrabble though.