Ducati Introduction, Day 3 - GP10 Unveiled, Domenicali Speaks

The third day of Ducati's traditional MotoGP team launch saw several events of real note. The most prominent but probably least significant was the official unveiling of Ducati's 2010 Desmosedici GP10, the machine that Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner will be campaigning in the upcoming season. The bike had been unofficially "unveiled" some three weeks ago, when Nicky Hayden put some photos he'd taken with his iPhone on his personal website without first obtaining permission from Ducati. "It probably got me in the doghouse a bit," Hayden admitted, but as the bike had already made its debut at the Valencia post-race tests, no real harm was done.

2010 Ducati Desmosedici GP10 MotoGP bike

The more important events were the interviews given by some of the key men in Ducati's racing program, including the head of racing Claudio Domenicali and the company's CEO Gabriele del Torchio. Del Torchio admitted that the Bologna factory has a keen interest in Valentino Rossi, and will be talking to the reigning World Champion in the run up to MotoGP's silly season in June of this year. "We would love to win a world championship with an Italian rider, as part of our ambition to be an ambassador for the idea of 'Made in Italy'," Del Torchio told GPOne.com.

Domenicali spent a lot of time talking about the GP10 Desmosedici, explaining some of the difficulties which faced the engineers when working to the new engine limits for 2010. Speaking to the press, Domenicali talked about what they had done. "The main changes to the bike are based on the rule changes," Domenicali said, "So the major part of the work was done precisely to make it perform better using only six engines for the entire championship. It's a very important difference, because we were used to using more-or-less one engine per race, so to switch from eighteen engines to six is a very important adjustment. To go 1,600 kilometres with an engine that goes over 19,000 rpm isn't a simple assignment.  All of the main parts were redesigned — pistons, rods, crankshaft, the basics. It's an engine with which our main objective was to minimize the loss of power to increase durability."

"It was a change that will be very useful and interesting, also because normally in racing, durability isn't the principal objective. Perhaps this new objective has enabled us to perform a series of experiments that will also be interesting for the new production engines that we're developing because at this point they become almost comparable. For a production engine, 2,000 kilometres of track use is a severe challenge so we start to think that the race engine durability is comparable with production engines."

"The second big news isn't related to the rules, but to our attempt to make the bike more rideable. This has to do with the firing order. We have a motor that, since the switch to 800s, utilized a screamer setup. This has permitted us to have maximum power, which was very important and was probably fundamental with the results that we've had in 2007, 2008 and 2009, but at a certain point, we began to wonder whether it could be worthwhile to re-test a way that we'd already followed in the past. The last 1000cc motors that we made in 2005 and 2006 used a big-bang firing order, and this gave us important rideability.We re-tested that way, first trying it on the dyno, then with Vittoriano Guareschi in his previous role as test rider and then with Nicky and Casey. We think we have a bike for 2010 with better traction, and that therefore makes it easier for us to find a good setup." 

"Another part of the work was dedicated to the chassis. In the pursuit of ease of use, we've worked to eliminate the bike's squatting, which is why the entire rear portion of the bike was redesigned. This bike has a rear structure that carries the rider — which we call the seat support — and that also supports the swingarm. That part was redesigned to have six mounting points instead of four; this makes the bike more rigid in a way and it guarantees better rideability and improved rigidity. With respect to the bike we introduced last year, this bike is also aesthetically different because of the redesigned fairing but we already saw that at Estoril."

All these changes did not come for free, of course. Domenicali told GPOne.com that the factory had spent more money to make the engines reliable. "Development is expensive," the Italian boss said. "Our costs have gone up by 15 percent, but the costs per season will be less. We will make significant savings from the second season onwards." Whether these savings will filter down to the satellite teams remains to be seen. "Whether the cost price will reduce or not is another question, because the commercial policies of the manufacturers will have an effect." The satellite teams would start the season with the same spec engines as the factory, however.

One strange effect of the new rules is that the engines in MotoGP must now last longer than the production engines used in World Superbikes. And the question of crash damage remains unanswered, though Domenicali expected that solutions would be found. "With so few engines, crashes will increase the complications," Domenicali said. "But it's up to the manufacturers to take technical measures to avoid mechanical disaster."

Here's the video of the GP10 being unveiled, and the interview with Claudio Domenicali:

And more photos of the bike and the launch:

Ducati Desmosedici GP10 MotoGP bike

Ducati Desmosedici GP10 MotoGP bike launch with Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner

Ducati Desmosedici GP10 MotoGP bike

Video and photos courtesy of Ducati Corse

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I see paint chips all over this bike, especially where the belly pan meets the side fairing, near the front on both sides. Also, the nose fairing is a different shade of red than the rest of the fairing.

And there are now black rubber blocks holding up the rear of the tank, and the whole tank is misaligned with the rest of the fairing. In the Hayden spyshot, it looked like Ducati was shimming the rear of the tank with rags. What's going on with that?

I know it's a racebike, but if you are going to spend $$$ to have it professionally photographed, at least fix the paint.

The reason that the paint on the Desmosedici looks variable from panel to panel is purely down to lighting and the shade of red that Ducati use on the bike. That shade is a bitch to photograph and render correctly, as Nicky's cameraphone pics demonstrated; it rendered as a fairly ugly orange colour in those pics.

It's particularly tricky when photographed in artificial light (as the indoor ones would have been). At the join of a panel the angle of the surface to the camera will change fractionally and that is enough to change the colour rendering.

It's surely a little naive to suggest that Ducati would miss such an obvious PR gaffe as having the bike poorly painted when presenting the bike to the world's press. Check the photos taken outside in the snow for a better idea of how the paint tones should appear.

As for the gap between tank and panels - no, it's not uniform. I have no idea why that should be but suspect that it might get fixed before the season starts...

I suppose it's also naive to suggest that paint is chipped all over the GP10. But the proof is right there in the photos, as is the mismatched paint on the nose, and the poor fitting tank. This bike was clearly a rush job.

The chipped paint is odd but fairly unremarkable.

I think the tank placement is OK. I like the look of the gap. I'm sure it's more designed for easy access than flush fit to please symmetrists.

Besides that, it just seems really long to me. Is that the swingarm that they started working on last year that lengthens the bike?

Look at the pictures taken at the actual launch (i.e. outside, in the snow) and there is no variance of colour. It's only on the interior photographs that there is variation, and that is to be expected.

So yes; it is naive to say that paint is chipped all over the GP10. But you're right, deckard; the proof is in the photos if you care to look (and look at the right one).

Ducati isn't filling the tank with Shell petrol anymore?

no yellow stickers for the first time in ,,forever?

The fairing looks a bit bare in general. I'd think this would be the time when the sponsors would get some nice clear exposure. I wonder if Shell and other sponsors just have yet to send the check to pay for their red real estate. They could be holding on to their cash until the race season or maybe they had a staff member that was really good with sponsors that left the team.

1.) The fork is different. Rossi and Yamaha are using a Öhlins fork with no gas reservoir (little cylinder behind the inner fork leg) for several years now while Ducati had this reservoir cylinder forks right until the Valencia race 2009. (see e.g. http://www.motorsport-total.com/motorrad/bilder/show.php?c=09mpgval&b=12...)

The GP10 has no gas reservoir cylinder.

2.) It's difficult to say from these photos but it appears that the dreaded carbon swing arm has returned

3.) The side fairing was cut out at the front (at the radiator) probably to reduce shear wind resistance.

In the bottom photo, if you click it, and then maximize the size, it looks as though the tank paint is not only dull-as-a-rattle-can-paintjob, but that there is also a huge, nasty collection of paint runs where the knee depression is formed in the tank.

In a way, as a guy who has raced ugly bikes, I like the message that a less-than-perfect bike sends out: Yes, your bike may be more aesthetically polished, but our bike/rider package is superior, and we'll still whup you on the track.

That said, I'm guessing the bike will look a bit more polished on the grid. Now if Nicky can just find some speed to stay with his teammate!

As a racer, and as all racers know, you paint the race glass it looks fantastic!
Put it on the bike, take it off, put it back on, take it off and in no time at all there are hundreds of little chips and cracks in the paint.

If you ever get to walk the pits of motogp and have a close look you will get a surprise at how ruff the bikes are on the race glass side of the bikes, but they look great on the track.

That is the ugliest bike.


Did they try to model the rear of it after the Porsche Panamera? Is that supposed to complement the "Admiral Ackbar/one-eyed catfish" (HA!) front end?

Lord. Have. MERCY. That is APPALLINGLY ugly.

I'm hoping/figuring that the Cd justifies the form. A man in a white coat with a pocket protector designed that bike in the wind tunnel, NOT an artist.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go look at a few photos of the Pontiac Aztek...to clear my mind...

Oh. My. God. What are some of you guys talking about? I opened the large-photo window, and I saw what is probably going to be anything between one of the fastest three roadracing motorcycles in the world to The Fastest. The paint on the nose doesn't match the paint on the side? The gap between the tank and whatever is uneven? Arghhhhh!!!!

Although, yer right, it probably matters more than whether or not Nicky and the Big Bang engine will get along better than he did with the Screamer....

The note on the Shell sticker was interesting. The only oily products mentioned in my 748's shop manual are Shell. Gotta say, I feel guilty not using them, although I can't remember ever seeing them in any of the stores I go to. Weird not to see the decal on the GP10. Somebody up there was probably right--the check just hasn't arrived. You'd think it'd be a big deal for Shell to have made sure it happened in time for the launch. Even though in six months we'll have forgotten these photos, right now is all we really know, and Shell isn't there.

Oh. My. God. What are some new
Submitted by jmichels on Wed, 2010-01-20 10:30.
Oh. My. God. What are some of you guys talking about? I opened the large-photo window, and I saw what is probably going to be anything between one of the fastest three roadracing motorcycles in the world to The Fastest. The paint on the nose doesn't match the paint on the side? The gap between the tank and whatever is uneven? Arghhhhh!!!!

That gap between the tank and what ever is exactly the same as at PHILLIP ISLAND. I have photos taken in the pits and have compared then to new bike. Carbon fibre swing arm is back. At Phillip Island, DUCATI were running aluminium swing arm.
Stoner was running solid disc at PI with lots of drilled holes, whereas HAYDEN runs a ventilated rear disc. Smaller drilled holes