One of the many reasons that the 2017 world championship is so eagerly awaited is obviously the new clash between Valentino Rossi and new Ducati rider, Jorge Lorenzo. The two will have to deal with the umpteenth rule change that prohibits any aerodynamic appendages.
"And to think that Ducati designed them specifically to improve safety –Davide Tardozzi explained to Corriere dello Sport – the spoilers made the bike more stable on the straights and in braking, and they decreased wheelies during acceleration. The fact that everyone copied us proves our point. Even those riders who said that the winglets were of no use now realize how much less stable the bike is in braking. We want to emphasize that this has decreased safety, not increased it."
However, those who expect to see revolutionary fairings will be disappointed.
"We will be in Sepang from 25 January to do comparative tests between the old and new fairings with Michele Pirro and Casey Stoner, but externally you will not see any great differences."
They say that MotoGP, as we already saw in F1, will reveal the new aerodynamics only at the first Grand Prix.
"At Valencia a fairing was approved. In 2017 only two can be developed, one of which must be approved before the Qatar GP. During the year, either one can be used indifferently, or the 2016 fairing without winglets can be used. Unfortunately, the rule is not very specific on what can and cannot be done, to the extent that Dorna’s Technical Director, Danny Aldridge will have the final, unquestionable say. After a visual inspection, he will say whether it is okay or cannot be done."
Aerodynamically speaking, this is a huge step backwards. Bear in mind that, not only did MV Agusta test spoilers on their fairings in the days of Read e Ago, but Suzuki also used them with Barry Sheene from 1976.
The question is: how will the load lost by the prohibition of winglets be recovered?
"With balancing tests. We will need to find the same traction too. We will try to find a compromise, because if the bike were to accelerate without winglets the same way it does with them, they would have been useless."
The championship will begin on three tracks that favour Ducati: Losail, Austin and Rio Hondo.
"This means that it will also be more difficult to win on those tracks because our rivals will not be caught unprepared - Tardozzi continues - The true test bench for us, on the other hand, will be the fourth round at Jerez, because that is a track where we have always struggled a lot."
In order to speed up development, as we all know, a third GP17 will be entrusted to team Pramac-Ducati in the able hands of Danilo Petrucci,
"If necessary - Tardozzi confirmed for Corsport - if an evolution is available for only one bike, Dall’Igna could decide to have Petrucci test it first."
The stated goal is the world title.
"When a manufacturer signs a three-time world champion, you cannot hide behind a finger - Tardozzi admits - The goal is the world title by 2018."
The main rivals will be Yamaha, Honda, and even Suzuki.
"They have world champion riders on their teams who have already shown what they are capable of. Suzuki, on the other hand, has Iannone, a rider for whom we have great respect."