Ducati Line Up To Remain Unchanged For 2015: Crutchlow Dovizioso And Iannone To Ride Radically Revised Desmosedici GP15

After all the speculation of massive changes in Ducati's MotoGP team, all is to remain the same. During the World Ducati Week event held for fans of the Italian marque at Misano, both Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow announced that they would be remaining with Ducati for 2015, with Crutchlow choosing not to exercise his option to leave, and  Dovizioso being persuaded to sign on for two more years. In addition, Ducati exercised its option to extend the contract with Andrea Iannone, with Iannone to be given factory support.

The decisions by all three riders are a both a show of confidence in the ability of Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna to build a more competitive MotoGP machine, as well as a lack of alternatives elsewhere. The only other factory rides available are the two seats at Suzuki, but given the slow pace of the bike during testing and the amount of development work needed, that was a bigger risk than staying at Ducati.

Crutchlow's decision was perhaps the easiest to make: the option to stay or leave was in his hands alone, and although the relationship between the Englishman and Ducati is far from ideal, neither party had much of a choice. After a very strong season in 2013, Crutchlow has suffered a terrible slump in his form since joining Ducati. Twelve months ago, the question in the press room was when Crutchlow would win his first MotoGP race. This year, the question has been whether he would elect to stay or not. Crutchlow had options with Suzuki and interest from Honda, but they would have meant a reduction of wages without a guarantee of a competitive bike.

Dovizioso had also been high on Suzuki's target list of riders, but Ducati had worked very hard to keep the Italian on board. After a tough first year on the Ducati - a seemingly universal experience - Dovizioso is coming into his own this season, using the strengths of the Desmosedici GP14 to his advantage, and bagging two podiums along the way. Ducati Corse and Gigi Dall'Igna have praised Dovizioso's technical input, and believed it to be crucial for next year, when the Desmosedici is due to change so radically.

With Dovizioso and Crutchlow staying where they are, that leaves no room in the factory Ducati team for Andrea Iannone. Iannone had been pushing hard for promotion to the factory squad, and his results had certainly merited such a move. But Iannone, too, looks set to remain with Ducati, although in what form remains to be seen. Iannone is on the payroll of Ducati Corse, and it is possible that Iannone will be moved into a separate team with the joint colors of Pramac and Ducati Corse, according to reports on GPOne.com. Iannone, too, was high on the list of candidates for Suzuki.

The reason the three men have decided to remain with Ducati for the 2015 season is the promise of a radically revised machine for next year. At Misano, Gigi Dall'Igna reaffirmed earlier statements he had made about building a completely new machine for next season. The bike will have a new engine, although it will remain a 90° V4 and will continue to use desmodromic valve gear. The engine dimensions will be radically changed, however, the motor being lighter and shorter than the current powerplant. The revised power unit will allow greatly changed geometry and bike layout. That, in turn, should cure the chronic understeer which has plagued the Desmosedici since the advent of the spec tire.

The retention of Dovizioso, Crutchlow and Iannone leaves no room for Aleix Espargaro, who was rumored in the Spanish media to be close to a deal with Ducati. Espargaro is desperate to get on to a factory option bike, in the hope of being able to compete at the front. His only hope at Ducati is that they make space in the Pramac team and offer him identical support to Iannone, though there are no signs that Ducati has either the budget or the intention to do that. That puts Espargaro at the top of Suzuki's target list, as the fastest of the riders still available - with the proviso that Espargaro would need to be bought out of his contract. With the Ducati seats tied up, the remainder of the open seats should soon start to fall into place. News is expected soon of Maverick Viñales' future, and whether he will ride for Suzuki, and whether Jack Miller will make the leap up to MotoGP, and slot in at the LCR Honda squad. News of those decisions shoud also follow soon.

Back to top


Speedweek.de has reported Vinales already signed with Suzuki. I'm inclined to believe them since I think they also reported correctly that nothing at Ducati would change.

Yonny? There are 4 Ducati bikes available.....who's getting that last one? He's done well on the really crappy GP13 and deserves a shot at the new bike I would think

Iannone is a salaried rider for Ducati Corse, the same as Crutchlow and Dovizioso. He has been since he joined along with Spies.
The bike he rides is a factory GP14 which has full factory support although there is some disagreement over what that entails in comparison with the Corse outfit that bike remains a Corse entry in all but name. It is run by Pramac and their staff although Corse engineers and data are available.

The Hernadez entry is strictly a Pramac affair and the thinking is that the GP13 is provided FOC with limited support as reward for running Iannone on behalf of Corse.

That's how I understand the situation this year.

What happens next season is anyone's guess. There is talk of Iannone moving to a one bike team, and there being two Pramac seats available. I'd expect those bikes to be GP14's were that the case.

Whatever happens I'd expect Pramac to get at least as much factory level support as they have been getting since Iannone joined with Spies. That's their thank you for being part of the bike's development.

Regarding Hernandez? Yonny has proven solid on a bike that everyone knows was difficult to ride, often outpacing riders from the previous year on the same bike. I think his contract for this year was only one year, perhaps David knows better? But unless there has been a drastic change in how management at Pramac view him which has been very favourable, or there is a drastic change in team structure to accommodate Iannone's new ride for next year then i would expect him to get a reward of a contract extension. Unless of course someone else is sniffing around him. Seems his crasher tag from the past may have been more bike than skill related.

What could have been one of the greatest grid reshaping silly seasons in a long time is turning out to be nearly no change at all. I say nearly because I still believe someone somewhere is going to get a different seat for next year.

basically Iannone has the same deal as he's had last year and this year correct? I remember last season the word was all 4 Ducati bikes (Dovi, Hayden, Iannone and Spies) were supposed to be exactly the same so development would be faster due to having that amount of feedback. Of course Yonny is supposed to be a step down from the rest of them this year.....but I digress...I'm just confused on how this is any different from what Crazy Joe's got now.

Honestly I was hoping he was going to LCR or Gresini as I've been worn down by Ducati's stagnation.

HI there ZootCadillac.

Sorry, I came in late on this.

When was it that Spies raced a Ducati?

Shoot, I missed that one...

Spies rode a Pramac Ducati in 2013, though due to injuries he only rode in a few races that year.

2013 on a Pramac liveried entry although he was also a Corse salaried rider. He remained so up until his retirement despite not running much due to injury.
If you are just wanting to argue the semantics of 'raced' and 'rode' then that's another conversation.

I'm unsure of the rules on outside links. Forgive me if this is not allowed but by all means put me straight.


This is a surprise. I see the merits of staying for the all new Ducati over the Suzuki for all involved, but surprised at the seeming veracity of the A.Espargaro signing w Duc.

So the focus is left on A. Espargaro and the draw of a Factory Suzuki vs. Satellite Honda vs Satellite Yamaha w his brother, vs Aprilia.

Those two satellite Honda bikes would be a HUGE draw for me any year if I were a MotoGP rider (which I often am on the back of my eyelids at night, and that one race wknd when I over cooked a few corners on worn out tires and had drifting slides followed by an inevitable crash as I was was over my head, but I digress). The right bike over a factory team sounds better every time. For 2015 this could not be truer as so much will be up in the air in a year's time and grabbing good results that can be had on Bradl's or Beautista's bike would put you in good positioning.

A.Espargaro go sign on that LCR bike. The Suzuki is a known quantity more than might be assumed. It would be on the back of mid-pack pace at best this season. Don't get tempted by the 'factory ride' shimmery siren bits!

... and as we've seen since the days of the RGV500, "factory" suzuki budget in motoGP is equivalent to something like satellite honda...

If the reports on GPone.com are to be believed Avintia is ditching its FTR framed and Kawasaki engined bikes. That report also says that they are looking at Ducati for an entire bike since Hondas are not available and possibly because Yamaha will give only an engine. That means that Ducati could sell this year's bikes to Avintia and place Iannone on one bike at Pramac and junk the second bike, unless of course they are persuaded by Dorna to keep Yonny Hernandez whose geographical location seems to be of importance to them. Avintia may nor may not spare a bike for Hernandez, but if they do, then it is almost certain that Pramac will run only one bike for Iannone. At Avintia Mike De Miglio could be shown the door since he is not Spanish though Hector Barbera is likely to carry on. I wonder if there will be customers for this years D16 in the form of PBM and maybe even Ioda Racing. I suspect Aprilia's threat to advance their entry into MotoGP by one year is unlikely to materialise, in which case it makes great sense for Ioda to race the D16 which while being nonsense in comparison to other factory motorcycles, will be better than the ART.

My feeling is that the excitement of the silly season is over. Unless Lorenzo commits harakiri there will be no change in the Yamaha line up as well and that means that the factory teams remain as they are. Satellite teams such as Gresini and LCR may or may not see changes but Tech3 is unlikely to see a change, what with Poncharal fully behind Bradley Smith. That means only change will be a replacement rider for the Forward team and two riders at Suzuki. Suzuki is unlikely to impress in the first season so with exception of Maverick Vinales (and even this is in the realm of conjecture as of now) nobody from Moto2 is likely to step in. If Bradl or Bautista lose their ride then Jonathan Rea could get one of their motorcycles while Eugene Laverty may just be considered for a seat at Suzuki. That I suppose is the possibility of riders coming into MotoGP from Superbikes. I am sure that not too many are licking their chops at the possibility of either Rea or Laverty (a GP refugee who went to Superbikes) coming into MotoGP. The Aliens are who they are because of the fact that the rest of the grid are just average riders.

Avintia is not using FTR this year, but a WSBK spec Kawasaki frame.

... he's been beaten comprehensively by Rossi this year. Maybe a switch to "something other than what Rossi is riding" may take the pressure off?

avsatishchandra "The Aliens are who they are because of the fact that the rest of the grid are just average riders."

Oh how I wish to be average.

Yes, talent is talent, but perhaps Dorna should put a cap on the number of riders from the same country.

I watch MotoGP to see the best riders in the world race each other. If there are too many spaniards, maybe that's a sign that other countries need to get with the program and have a career path for the young up and coming riders.

Personally I don't care what nationality the riders are. I'm an aussie, but i am a massive #93 fanboy, and have no doubt that he'd have stoner's lunch money.

... interesting parts of 2015 will be seeing whether or not Dall'Igna can truly conquer Ducati's MotoGP curse. I truly hope he and the riders can do it, as it will be a huge addition to the series, which is already thriving!

I think Aleix should go with Suzuki, the wages ought to be generous and there's bound to be potential there, even it takes until 2016 to realize it.

has actually been a disappointment for me and I'm not really understanding of the push to get him on a factory bike.

I really had high hopes for Crazy Joe but his results just don't justify getting his bum on one of the best seats in the house. A 5th place at last weekends Euro Disney GP and a couple of 6th's are ok but don't exactly light up the Christmas tree. Apart from those there really isn't much to right home about, with generally poor qualifying (apart from his home GP), DNF's etc.

I'm not saying he shouldn't be there but his results certainly wouldn't have him at the top of my shopping list.

Nick Harris really needed Gavin Emmett to keep him in check. New chappy probably isn't comfortable enough to call him out, yet

How about Jorge on the LCR, with full factory status. Bit like Rossi with the Nastro Azurro squad back in 2000. Highly unlikely, but that would certainly make this silly season interesting...


David: WRT your recent Ducati predications: you raised my hopes and dashed them so swiftly! *tips hat*

Totally rate "Crazy Joe". Totally dis some of the bums on satellite seats. Kinda wish Crutchlow would have a Honda satellite for 1 season to prove or disprove his capabilities. (Possibly irrational because Honda is about as likely to open up a factory ride to a next-gen rider as Yamaha.)

I wish (at least crap) factory rides and definitely satellite rides would free up for some young blood. Safe = boring. How good was the season where Honda were obliged to go to 3 factory bikes?!

Let's take stock: rider line up for 2015 with what could be an ideal blend of experience, skill, speed and bravery. Management that has made brave decisions on approach and design, out thinking Honda and Yamaha this year with its early move to spec software. Entirely new bike developed by an experienced leadership and engineering team, backed by an automotive group with massive resources and a track record of success everywhere it has competed. To beat Marquez even an exceptional rider will need to be on a better bike, he's that good. Hard to see currently how that bike's going to be a Yamaha. But it could be a Ducati. Expect to see Lorenzo on it in 2016.

"Hard to see currently how that bike's going to be a Yamaha. But it could be a Ducati."

... how you made that leap in logic?

Just because the Ducati is going to be "all new" most certainly doesn't mean it's going to be "all good."

And not exactly Yamha's first rodeo... they've been pretty good to adapting to new rules over the last 10 years, other than this last fuel cut.

Development of their seamless gearbox was slow by comparison with Honda because of lack of resources. Their bike badly needs a new engine but it won't be getting one next season, again for resources reasons, but Ducati's bike will. Why does Jorge have a break clause after a year into his new contract. Because he isn't sure Yamaha can build the bike he thinks he needs. Do you think he's wrong?

There is still a link with the biggest carbuilder in the world and Yamaha, so perhaps ..............

The problem I see for Crutchlow is that even if the 2015 bike is good, its unlikely to be a real championship contender in its first year, with no data/experience etc. Listening to the rumblings and grumblings about Ducati wanting Crutchlow out to make room for Iannone, there's surely no way he'll get a renewal for 2016/17. He'll be left doing all the hard development work next work for next to no real results (championship wise, even if the bike is good), yet he'll be out of a job when the bike has a chance of coming good in 2016. Bummer...

Even if the 2015 bike is competitive, 2016 throws in spec electronics and new tires to upset the apple cart. Could be worse, could be better. What I see is a lot of teams in "wait and see" mode, and being as conservative as motorcycle racing really is, are looking to minimize the changes over the next couple years. Hence most everyone staying where they're at.

Might be more return on money spent to just take the entire MGP development budget & offer it to Stoner as salary.

He'd probably make up for more time on the bike by just sitting on it than their next 2 years of development combined.

You have to wonder how long Audi will throw money down the black hole that is Ducai Corse in Moto GP. I have to guess that after a few more seasons they will realize what a colossal waste of money this is. Ducati is the Apple of the motorcycle world, whatever they build and slap a Ducati sticker on the sheeple will buy regardless of how it performs. I have to think eventually Teutonic business sense will win out on "Italian Passion" and the plug will be pulled on the entire project.......

This past year, Audi & Porsche (both owned by Volkswagon) spent nearly a BILLION dollars combined on JUST the 24hr Le Mans race. A parent corporation that allows 2 of its subsidiaries to rack up that kind of bill for just one race isn't even going to notice the Ducati MotoGP budget.

The billion dollar argument sounds, well, like a sound bite. So I did a little research. Both the Wall Street Journal [1] and the BBC [2] estimate the cost at around $200 m per year, which makes 0.4 billion in total. Much less than a whole billion.

The misperception that the Le Mans cars are only used for the Le Mans 24 hours is probably widely spread. Actually, there's a whole World Endurance Championship (WEC) [3] consisting of 8 races.

Porsche has the most Le Mans victories with 16 wins, followed by Audi with 13. That's a huge marketing boost. Endurance racing is about fuel efficiency, the current WEC ruleset demands hybrid cars. So the research effort is not just for a single race, but it does also apply to their "consumer products". Much more so than the MotoGP prototypes, IMHO.

The different Volkswagen marques have to finance their racing effort on their own. And I would call neither Porsche nor Audi financially irresponsible. Quite the opposite.

[1] http://on.wsj.com/1ivmPTa
[2] http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20140402-can-porsche-win-at-le-mans
[3] http://enwp.org/2014_24_Hours_of_Le_Mans

I think they should be more worried about Philip Morris, who is the major backer of the MotoGP team. For a company that's not allowed to even put their name brand on the bike, they want results!

I was a huge fan of ducati throughout their days dominating World Superbikes and thought, when they moved to MotoGP, that we'd be in for something very special indeed. As it turns out they have won just one world championship in 11 years in the series, 12 if you count this one. Over a 40 year timespan, in which they've dipped in and out of GP/MotoGP from time to time, Suzuki have won 5 titles. Why are we not talking about Suzuki as serious challengers?

It is almost unimaginable to believe Suzuki are going to come back and win another title anytime soon, so I find it equally hard to believe Ducati are going to set the world alight next year, the year after, or any other year in the near future. To my mind Ducati came into MotoGP on the back of an fantastic run of results in superbikes, which I suspect was largely down to the pairing of a great bike with a great rider, Fogarty. Success breeds success and other great pairings in superbikes ensued. They have never been able to emulate this in MotoGP, which makes me think 2007 was a year of everything coming together, but unsustainably so. If you look at their pattern of results throughout their time in MotoGP, they have always been pretty ordinary, with the exception of when they had Stoner. I suspect Stoner flattered a not very good bike and if he hadn't been that successful we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

For me, anyone 'unlucky' enough to not win a ducati seat for next year is not missing out that much, unless they just want or need a bigger bank balance; and as is only too evident this year, the cash alone seems to be inadequate compensation for losing your status as a serious contender for podiums.

Suzuki are not in the picture because they have not built a fast bike in living memory and won't pay the money for a top level rider. They look set to continue that exact trend going by the current bike and likely hirings. Vinales may well do ok but with no reference point for what a good MotoGP bike feels like he and Suzuki are flying blind. Espargaro will be in only a slightly improved situation.

Whereas Ducati have always built fast bikes in MotoGP, even before Stoner came along. It was almost immediately successful straight out of the box in 2003, with both Capirossi and Bayliss ahead of all the Yamaha's, Suzuki's, Kawasaki's, Aprilia's etc and behind only the all conquering Honda's. Best Suzuki by the way was down in 17th on a measely 29 points.

Capirossi was leading the championship in 2006 before that tangle with Gibernau, and Bayliss stepped in for that legendary win at the last round, so the bike was a rocket long before Stoner got aboard.

As for Fogarty, Bayliss is at least his equal and a lot more relevant to current success, riding many more iterations of the brand and succeeding under much tougher circumstances against the 1000cc IL4's.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not for one minute suggesting the Suzuki will be a contender, they won't for all the reasons you've given. I'm simply comparing the track records of two makes who have shone and then declined, and questioning why we still talk of Ducati as belonging to one class and Suzuki as belonging to another, when empirically Suzuki have arguably been more successful than Ducati. I admit I'm looking at a long time series for Suzuki but that's only to illustrate the point.

Nor am I arguing that Suzuki will do better (or even come close) to Ducati over the next few years, they won't, as above. But neither are Ducati likely to become as good as, or better, than Honda or Yamaha over the next few years. Probably.

I truly wish it was otherwise and will cheer from the rooftops if Ducati prove me wrong but I just can't see it happening. I don't want to write a boring thesis on organisational capacity or corporate development to support my view (trust me, that stuff really is dull, I've done it for a living), only to say that it is hardly ever just one or two people in organisations that bring about a sea-change. Individuals like Gigi Dall'Igna usually get the glory for break-throughs but in general, there will have been a gradual build-up within the company towards that point over a long period with clear signs along the way (as was the case for Ducati in the 10 - 15 years leading up to 2007) but there's no evidence of that these days. We were talking about woeful understeer 5 years ago and are still talking about it now. You're absolutely right - they built rockets back then and still build them now. But no-one can use them to consistently gain podiums, because rockets go very well in a straight line but are not so hot at going round corners.

I beg to differ about the Ducati's performance from 2003 onwards. I'll cede on 03, though the Yamaha was a dog back then, but in 04 Ducati were almost always behind both Honda and Yamaha, and occasionally Suzuki & Kawasaki (wet races maybe?), 05 was the same, and while I really, really don't want to re-open the famous debate around 06, Rossi had 2 DNF's and 1 x 14th place in the 6 races prior to catalunya, the yamaha was utterly undependable, so any championship positions up to then had a particular context. And much as I rated Loris, his 06 pattern of results was a little too like 05 and 04 for me to think he was likely to take the title. Nicky Hayden won through sheer consistency and even if Loris hadn't had that horrible crash at Catalunya, and all else was as it was, the inconsistency of the Ducati was always going to make a title difficult.

I agree that Bayliss was Foggy's equal, in so far that you can never really compare two riders from different era's. It was always disappointing to see a great rider have such a rubbish time in MotoGP but at least he made his point in his final appearance.

Great news for Ducati. Retaining 2 top riders is good for the continuity of the team. I'm glad to see a complete redesign of the GPXX is coming. I'd like to see them rebrand the bike to send an even stronger signal that the team is moving forward. It was a great legacy in the hands of Stoner but I feel the Desmosedici GPXX moniker sends a message that is all but mediocre. Throw some spaghetti at the wall and see what shapes they make, presto brand new name. Im pretty sure thats what Honda did with noodles when naming the RC213VNSRGOLDWING.

Lorenzo is going to Yamaha. he has no negotiating power at the moment and they know it. If only Rossi had stayed 2011-13 Rossi, Lorenzo would be getting whatever he wanted. Yamaha are offering him the one thing all Spaniards desperately want, employment so that deal should be sewn up soon.

Ducati also launched a new range at WDW

GeorgeBourke.com | DCA 14 Range

Follow me on Twitter

Agree, they should be worried about Phillip Morris. Why does PM throw money down the hole on a mid-pack bike that can no longer say Marlborough.

I never took the "1 billion dollars" a year comment seriously. VW/Audi/Porsche/Ducati are in Business to make money, no one is going throw 1 billion at a single race. That's just silly.

I honestly cannot understand why Suzuki would bother coming back, why not focus on WSBK? I can't see how Moto GP will not collapse in on itself in the next 5 years or so. The racing is terrible (same 4/5 people/bikes winning for almost the last 10 years) Outrageously expensive, thanks to all the brilliant "cost cutting measures" and it's no longer a prototype series, it's a spec series like F1.

Ducati dominated WSBK because they had great riders AND because they had the rules tilted in their favor for so long. Everyone seems to forget that.

"Ducati dominated WSBK because ...they had the rules tilted in their favor for so long. Everyone seems to forget that."

I didn't know that. I'm not even sure I want to know how this was the case, it might shatter what few illusions I still hang on to. But go on, shatter away.

After a tough first year on the Ducati - a seemingly universal experience -

Although, one rider managed to win a WC on a Ducati in his first year in the saddle. Easy to forget when nobody else got close, either before or after.. or has even won a race since then.