Ducati To Test New Engine At Mugello Next Week

Ducati is to test the latest version of their Desmosedici GP12 engine next week at Mugello. Speaking to MotoMatters.com, Ducati team manager Vitto Guareschi said that Franco Battaini is to start testing the bike, complete with the new engine, next week, in preparation for handing the machine over to Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi for a final test on the Monday after the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. If that test is successful, then both factory Ducati riders will have the new engine available as part of their allocation from Laguna Seca, the race directly after Mugello.

Much rides on the new engine: Valentino Rossi has repeatedly expressed his hopes that the improvements the new engine should offer will allow him to make a big step towards closing the gap with the front runners. That improvement should come from improved driveability, the main focus of development for Filippo Preziosi and the Ducati Corse department. "The aim is to improve the first touch of the throttle," Guareschi said, the area in which the Ducati has suffered the most. "Driveability is very important for the 1000s, even more so than the 800s," Guareschi added. "The 1000s have much more torque than the 800s, which makes it harder for the rider to use the power."

Though Guareschi would not be drawn on the exact changes to the engine, it would not be radically different to the existing power plant, Guareschi said. Contrary to expectations, the layout of the engine would remain unchanged. "The hardware looks the same," Guareschi said. The reason for not radically revising the engine layout was because Ducati Corse was still gathering data, and the information from the new engine would give the more data to work with. "We want to understand what we need before making a big change," Guareschi said.

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Can someone remind me of the testing restrictions? Is testing limited by tire allocation alone, or days?

"....because Ducati Corse was still gathering data, and the information from the new engine would give the more data to work with. "We want to understand what we need before making a big change," Guareschi said."

I've been a fairly unbiased observer, although a fan of Rossi for sure but are you kidding me ? More information on the configuration of the motor ?

I'm all for small changes to the motor, as it's the best testing methodology, but I'm still in bewilderment over the fact they don't just build and test a new config, set them up back to back and then gather data.

They want to know before they design and test a new configuration that its going to faster on track. It makes sense economically but I'm unsure if it is at all possible to know.

I thought testing was all about getting to know if its faster.

I agree. As David so smartly pointed out last year, all fingers point to the L. It is big and bulky and a royal pain to move around in the chassis and change weight distribution. If anything Ducati are stubborn. They refused to change the frame, now it's the engine config, then their is their valve system. Preiziosi has been quoted saying that Ducati will do anything to win, nothing is off the table but that couldn't be further from the truth. I agree that they should alter the degree of the Vee (narrow angle) and test side to side but they are still unwilling to do that. Nov 2010 with little to no change. Sad actually.

Honda has no problem NOT producing a sportbike 1000cc V4, or any bike in their lineup with pneumatic valves. I guess Ducati would rather stick to tradition than win. 5 years now since their one and only title.

Is this Corse's last roll of the dice with the venerable 90 degree engine?

Rumour has it the motor is under the capacity limit at just over 900cc with Preziosi using a shorter stroke for peak power.
Could the new engine be the full monty litre, with less emphasis on outright power production and more on driveability?
A longer stroke will inrease the dimensions of the already difficult to package unit.
Is it all too little, too late for them to convince Rossi to stay?

Corporate identity and intransigence seems to be holding them back from flat out going for broke.
Perhaps the hallmark configuration is more important to some than actually making genuine progress and they secretly think Valentino should go and see a shrink too.

If memory serves david also pointed out that most engineers would say that in an ideal world the L-4 would be the motor of choice. I also don't see where the Desmodromic valvetrain plays into your argument as the valvetrain has really been a non issue. From what I have been able to glean, the biggest issue with the Ducati is that they used a more rudimentary form of traction control in the form of ignition-cut only.

As we have seen in both MotoGP and WSBK, the electronics are by far the hardest element to develop and dial. Once Ducati have figured out their combination TC then I think many of their issues will be sorted. Remeber that Casey Stoner did so well on the Ducati because he is rumored to use the least amount of TC on the grid

The Desmo actuation needs more room for the multitude of components than a simple coil or gas spring system does. There are 2 rockers and 2 cam lobes per valve and they need to go somewhere. Also the closing rocker needs access to the underside of the valve retainer so the valve needs to be a little longer.

The combination of the long 90 degree V angle and the large cylinder head may make their engine placement more limited than the other configurations but I still think that bike-specific tires would solve a lot of their problems. I do hope a more sophisticated power cut system will help.

I'm an engineer and love the 90 deg V4 configuration but engineering perfection needs to take a back seat to the performance envelope dictated by the spec tires.


Agreed. The Ducati performed much better when they had tailor made Pirellis. It seems somewhat backwards to me that they are tailoring the bike to the tires and not vice versa. A bit like putting the cart before the donkey.

"The Ducati performed much better when they had tailor made Pirellis"

They won the championship on Bridgestones. Are you thinking of WSBK?

He was quoting JB. In an ideal world yes the L but 2012 MotoGp is not the ideal world. That makes that discussion moot. They aren't racing in Utopia. Tire rules rule the roost and who can use use them the most effectively, or better yet, exploit them.

Yamaha isn't having the problems of Honda due to the motor config. The crossplane is easier to move around in the chassis and change weight distribution. The true Vee has the advantage of power and this is why a Yamaha engine has never had an advantage in terms of horsepower, especially off the corners. Yamaha's advantage is handling and setup possibilities. The Ducati motor is the worst in this regard and the Honda is right in between.

The desmo's only advantage over a pneumatic valve Japanese engine of Honda or Yamaha is fuel consumption at high revs, and that's it, no other advantage so it has more limitations than the pneumatic valves. This is why Preziosi and Ducati are so vehemently opposed to a rev limit and why they care less about the other proposed rule changes.

Stoner won the only Ducati GP championship on tires custom made for the Ducati. And TC is only one electronic rider aid used across the board. TC is minor compared to a/f which they map turn by turn, and then there is anti-spin, LC, WC, and all of them have to work with fuel management hand in hand.

Ducati's solution would be to make a more compact engine, as David pointed out last year, so that the teams can custom tailor the bikes to x rider's riding style and/or have the adjustability and tuneability that they currently lack. But they are rooted in tradition. As was said earlier in the thread, they should make a narrow angle Vee and test side by side. And perhaps a pneumatic version as well and test. They want nothing to do with either and would rather lose in tradition than win in change. Until they are willing to change they will lose, with any pilot, much has changed since 2007, that was 5 years ago.

Other than tyres and some suspension tweaks, the biggest change likely is in engine mapping. This wet=good/dry=bad behaviour makes me suspect the biggest issue is in the state of electronics development rather than the layout of the engine. Go back a few years and Honda were also struggling, until they poached some electronics guys from Yamaha.

I couldn't agree more. You would think, as many commentators, observers and apparentely MotoGP engineers apparently do, that if the bike was so lacking in setup, compared to the Yamaha or the Honda, that these problems would be exacerbated by the wet and not cured by them.

I am aware that TC is only one driver aid, but in all honesty it is the one most talked about and for good reason. The Ducati makes the most power on the grid, and furthermore it is not gentle power like the Yamahaw. From what both Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi have said it has a vicious power delivery, resulting in a bike that is difficult to drive out of the corners lap after lap. In my opinion it is this harsh power that unsettles the balance of the bike. All it takes is a touch of the throttle to lighten the front of the bike and decrease the friction at the front.

Does Ducati really have the luxury (time) to keep trying out their old configuration!? I mean, I know they are stuck between a rock and a hard place as far as the Rossi situation is concerened, but there has to be someone inside going "see look at Nicky, the bike can be fast in the right hands". So they keep sticking to their guns, though nothing changes much. Now the engine's agressiveness is the problem?!? The engine wasn't too agressive in the carbon framed version?

I really don't buy the argument that we needed to change the chassis just to find out if it wasn't the real problem. Five chassis configurations later and now the engine's delivery is to blame. They are literally tuning themselves in circles at this point just to justify the current design. Ultimately, Bologna has to be able to make a bike that's not suitable to just a few riders with dirt-track backrounds.

I will say though, it has been fascinating to watch a top level factory struggle so much and still not know why the bike they themselves designed doesn't work. Incredible really...

I vaguely remember a interview with Casey Stoner after he left Ducati where he was asked what was wrong with the Ducati and he replied "I told them what was wrong", or words to that effect. Would love to know what he told them!