MotoGP is always an arms race. A contest between manufacturers to try to make their bikes go faster. The trouble is, of course, that once you have made your own bike go faster, your rivals turn around and do exactly the same. You find yourself back where you started, or worse, the only difference being that everyone is another tenth of a second quicker, and finding the next tenth is now exponentially more difficult.
Ducati are the current masters of this, though it wasn't always this way. In the past, the Desmosedici was an intransigent beast that only a few riders – or rather, one rider – could wrangle into submission. Ducati have turned that around over the past decade, and now, where they lead, others follow.
So with two years of enforced inaction due to the restrictions imposed to keep costs down during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Jerez test saw Ducati unleash a pent-up torrent of new parts and ideas. Many of the new development parts have been discussed here already, including the new fairing, the new engine, and the extra long exhaust tried on the bike that might become the GP22. (For a full analysis, see my post-Jerez test round up).
Moving the holeshot device
But one detail caught my eye, and in private discussion with Peter Bom and Tom Morsellino, two people with enormous technical knowledge, a few interesting points arose.
What is that detail? If you look closely, you will see that the front holeshot device has been moved from the front of the fork leg to the rear. What's more, it has been turned upside down, with the metal catch and the latch release swapped. Let's start with the old device, used at the end of the 2021 season and seen here on the Ducati Desmosedici GP21:
If you look at the bottom of the carbon fiber fork tube, you will see above the gold section marked Öhlins an aluminum clamp with a bolt attached. That bolt holds a metal plate with a protrusion at the bottom. That protrusion is a catch, which is captured by the latch mechanism on the lower stanchion, and hidden by the front fender. You can also see the two cables which operate the latch mechanism, controlled by a butterfly switch on the top triple clamp.
Other things to note here: the bottom of the teardrop-shaped aerodynamic fork cover is flat, and there is a sizable gap between the fork stanchion and the fender.
Compare this to the 2022 prototype, and even though the angle is different, there are a lot of changes. The catch plate has been moved from the clamp around the fork outer to the same mounting bolt used by the suspension travel sensor (the thin rod attached to a plate fixed to the radial brake caliper mounts). The metal protrusion which serves as the catch which the latch mechanism grabs hold of is more clearly visible, and though it is hard to tell, it looks like the plate may now be made of carbon fiber rather than metal. The cables for the latch mechanism are no longer visible, as the latch mechanism is now located at the back of the aerodynamic fork covers.
To read the remaining 830 words of this article, you need to sign up to become a MotoMatters.com site supporter by taking out a subscription. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here. If you are already a subscriber, log in to read the full text.
This is part of a regular series of unique insights into the world of motorcycle racing, exclusive for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The series includes interviews, background information, in-depth analysis, and opinion, and is available to everyone supporting the site by taking out a subscription.
If you would like to read more of our exclusive content you can join the growing band of site supporters, by taking out a subscription here. If you prefer, you can also support us on our Patreon page and get access to the same exclusive material there.