In 2017 Ducati succeeded in their efforts to battle for the MotoGP title with Dovi against Marquez and his Honda. A result that barely got away and which will be up to the Dovizioso-Lorenzo duo to bring home.
With the launch of the new Desmosedici GP18 just around the corner – on 15 January in Borgo Panigale – it was sport director Paolo Ciabatti who summed up the situation in Corriere dello Sport, amending or clarifying what has come out during the brief winter break.
"There will not be two frames –Ciabatti explains, denying the rumours that had Gigi Dall'Igna even working on two frames to cater to the different riding styles of his riders – In fact, it is true that Jorge has more difficulty achieving good speed going into and through turns once he releases the brakes, but this is also a problem for Andrea who is more aggressive in this phase. Any improvement will be beneficial to both, and the new frame will have sufficient possibilities for adjustment to allow it. The GP18 will not copy Honda and it has not been revolutionised, but simply evolved. After all, in 2017 we won six Grand Prix races and we were contenders for the championship title down to the end.”
The rules are rather stable at the moment. Michelin is in the third year of their commitment, but Ducati is still waiting for some clarifications. The topic is still aerodynamics.
“We are anxiously waiting clarification on the aerodynamics, because if Yamaha turns up with what we saw in Valencia (traditional top fairing with winglets 'enclosed' by vertical partitions - editor's note) we will need to restudy ours in order to obtain a narrower fairing”, explained the sport director who, immediately after he Malaysia tests (from 28 to 30 January in Sepang - editor's note) will begin working on re-signing the current riders.
"Obviously, we would like to re-sign both, but the budget is not infinite and we cannot spend it all in one direction, precluding margins for development. We are obviously aware that Dovizioso expects an offer in line with his latest results, admittedly achieved thanks to his great personal growth and his exceptional form, but also thanks to the support and competitiveness of his Ducati. You don’t win six Grand Prix races by chance. There were races - Brno, Aragón, Phillip Island - where we struggled more and, in fact, the goal is precisely to improve where we were weak so that the riders can bring home as many points as possible even in difficult situations. We will begin speaking with Andrea soon. He expects a contract in line with those of other top riders. We will discuss financial guarantees, but also technical ones. He is right - it will be a complicated negotiation. We will begin speaking already after the Sepang tests at the end of the month.”