Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - ‘Marc is causing a lot of problems for everyone!’: Ducati's MotoGP challenge for 2020 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 are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

‘Marc is causing a lot of problems for everyone!’: Ducati's MotoGP challenge for 2020

On the eve of MotoGP’s Valencia finale Davide Tardozzi discusses Ducati’s 2019 season and the main problems the factory faces

Andrea Dovizioso has finished second in the MotoGP riders' championship for the past three years, while Ducati is fighting to be runner-up in the MotoGP constructors' championship for the second consecutive year; currently just one point in front of Yamaha. We asked factory team manager and former World Superbike rider Davide Tardozzi about what the Bolognese are doing to beat the Japanese in 2020.

How would you judge your 2019 season?

It’s obvious that our bike has some very good points and at least one weak point – the turning – which we are working on. We haven’t found the right solution yet, but we have a good bike and for the third year in a row we have taken second place in the championship behind a fantastic rider like Marc Márquez, which in some way is a result. We don’t go racing for second place. We are just facing the reality that we are fighting against a rider who is making the history of this sport. Marc is causing a lot of problems for everyone!

What’s on your wish list for 2020?

My strong wish is that we find something that will suit the requirements of our riders, because I think if we make another step we can really fight for the championship.

There is no such thing as the perfect bike. Every bike has good points and bad points, so you must focus on your weak points. We think our MotoGP is a very good bike that in some way doesn’t properly suit every racetrack. We know this and we are working on it. My wish is that we solve this problem.

You’ve had one frame update during this season – after Barcelona – how did that help the turning?

It helps in the last part of braking – when the rider is entering the corner and releasing the brake the bike turns much better. Our main problem now is the exit of the corner – turning from mid-corner to the exit.

How are you working to fix that problem?

Our chassis department is working on several areas of frame development. There are hundreds of things that can make the frame work one way or another.

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


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Re riders, unmitigated gap to Marc's skills, hope in Jack, vague and a bit tepid praise for Dovi, no mention of Bagnaia. They are working on getting the Red missile to turn more easily. Next year's Ducati is said to be significantly changed (whereas the 2019 was described as an evolution rather than revolution). Duc started this era w a distinct advantage re the spec electronics, this has passed. Honda got out of their 2015-2016 slump, miraculously beat Ducati on the horsepower contest, and now an odd handling bike Marc can ride around. Yamaha is out of their 2018 ditch but badly need two steps up in grunt.

Horsepower first, then develop the bike to handle (Duc and Honda, KTM) rather than the inverse for the Yamaha and Suzuki - he says it is the way to win. We may be at a point in time where this becomes less certain as the Yamaha returns from slump years. It is rising now. To where? Remove the Marc from the equation and the V4 - Inline 4 dynamic is REALLY interesting right now.

Curious what the Computrack folks might say about I4-V4 chassis/geometry dynamics in future articles. And is there anyone who can shed light on engine power possibilities amongst the two layouts? Can the I4 make power to nearly match the V4? How do the more limited electronics packages affect this?
Thanks tech folks. Already off season thinking here.