At the launch of Ducati's MotoGP effort in Bologna last week, there was much talk of the riders, and of sponsors, but relatively little talk of the bike. Exactly what the Ducati Desmosedici GP18 will look like, and what has changed, was not immediately clear from the presentation.
But after the presentation was finished, I, along with MCN reporter Simon Patterson, managed to get a few minutes with Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna, the man leading the technical team building the bike. We seized the opportunity to go into the few snippets revealed during the presentation in more depth.
In our conversation, we covered quite a lot of ground. We had the chance to ask Dall'Igna about the upgrades Ducati hopes to bring for 2018, and when they hope to have them. We asked about aerodynamics, and how the new rules have increased costs for the factory. We talked about the necessity of Ducati's Moto3 project, and when it might become reality. And we got to ask Dall'Igna about the steel trellis frame used by KTM, and whether he believes the Austrian factory will decided to drop the chassis concept, as Ducati did in the past.
Our first question was about horsepower. During the presentation, Dall'Igna had revealed that Ducati engineers had found "a couple more horsepower." On a bike that is already the most powerful on the grid, that didn't seem like the biggest priorty.
Q: Why did you look for more power? It's already very fast?
GD: Yes, it's fast, but you know, I think that everybody is working to improve their bike, and so Honda and Yamaha will make a step forward in terms of performance of the engine next season, so we have to be ready.
Q: But horsepower wasn't the biggest problem with the bike?
GD: Power was not the biggest problem, but anyway, it's an improvement, so why not use it?
Q: Will more power not risk hurting throttle response at the first touch of the throttle, which was one of the main problems last year?
GD: Not really. We have something to test to reduce the problem that we have at the beginning of the throttle. So we have in mind something. I hope that we will have the new parts already for Sepang, if not, for sure Buriram. We have something to test to reduce the problem on the first touch of the throttle.
Q: Were you looking for solutions to the turning problem more in the chassis than in the engine? And will the chassis look very different, or will it be an evolution?
GD: It won't look very different, it looks more or less like the old one, but we worked quite a lot and we have something to test. Also in this case, I'm not sure it will be ready for Sepang, but probably for Buriram.
Q: How different is this bike from last year?
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