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MotoGP, Dall'Igna: I've wanted Bautista in Superbike for a while, he wasn't keen

Gigi: "the call of the V4 R and the Ducati factory team convinced him to move"

MotoGP: Dall'Igna: I've wanted Bautista in Superbike for a while, he wasn't keen

A flight from Malaysia to join the Aruba team for its official presentation in Bergama and then at least one more flight to return to Malaysia to rejoin the MotoGP team, which is busy testing at Sepang.

Engineer Dall’Igna is busy, very busy; involved in both Borgo Panigale racing projects, Gigi knows that the 2019 season will be important, perhaps more so than others, because the challenge is two-fold, just as is the number of cylinders used in the new Panigale engine, now four instead of two.

The latest Ducati creation marks the start of a brand new era for the production-derived bikes: “I really liked the twin - explains Dall’Igna - an impressive bike from a technical and dynamic standpoint, complete with a unique sound. Despite that, and also due to an unfavourable technical regulation, the V2 had reached its developmental limit, the V4 R is conceptually very different, it marks a new Ducati era. I think that the four-cylinder V configuration is the the best compromise for a race engine, I pushed for a four-cylinder in Superbike too and believe this decision is the right one”.

You've said that the new V4 shares some of the technical characteristics of the Desmosedici GP. Which ones?

I can give some examples: the thermodynamics of the Superbike V4 derive from the Ducati MotoGP engine; from an aerodynamic standpoint, today's Superbike has inherited know-how developed with the GP prototype, such as wings mounted on the fairing; electronics management is also close to that used in MotoGP. There will be continual synergies between the two models”.

You had a very successful past in Superbike with Aprilia. Does the Ducati V4 R resemble the RSV4?

My success in Aprilia helped me to grow and develop my skills, but the RSV4 has little in common with the Ducati: the V4 R is born out of our experience in Grand Prix racing, the Aprilia was extremely well conceived but more of a road-bike. No, the two bikes are not at all similar.

Kawasaki uses an inline four and in testing Rea once again proved unbeatable.

“At the end of last year I could see Rea and the Kawasaki were in great shape. The Provec team has definitely improved something at the start of 2019 and, right now, they are the title favourites. Our path is different, our development launch pad offers greater range than that of Kawasaki. You want to know whether the results are down to Rea or the bike? It's difficult to say, but I would never separate the contribution made by the rider, the bike and the team. When you win, all three of these elements are working together at the same speed and intensity, this is why we talk about a 'winning package'. Johnny, the ZX-10RR and KRT are homogeneous, they win a lot and I hope to be able to turn the tables in our favour already this year, despite the situations being polar opposites: they are improving and fine-tuning the Ninja, we have made a radical change, moving from two to four cylinders”.

You also have a new rider. What is Bautista like?

I've known Alvaro for a long time and, having won the 125 world title together in 2006, I can say that he's a very strong and competitive rider. I've always wanted to bring Bautista to Superbike, but he never wanted to come. In recent times, Alvaro considered his options and the draw of the Ducati factory team and the new bike determined his final decision. It's a pleasure to have Bautista with us, he's a talented guy who could have achieved a lot more in MotoGP. Coming from MotoGP is not an advantage for him, Alvaro will lose time getting to know the Pirelli tyres, something his rivals won't have to do. There are also some new tracks for him. He will have various things to learn and manage”.

The Malaysian heat awaits Dall’Igna as, presentation over, he rushes back to the airport, though not before answering one final question.

If you had to choose whether to beat Rea and the Kawasaki in SBK or Marquez and the Honda in MotoGP, what would you say?

“They are two totally different worlds but are both equally important. It's impossible to make such a choice, at least for me, someone who is a real race fans as well as a technician. Let's say that I'd like to see the V4 R beat everyone in Superbike and in the meantime, see a winning Desmosedici GP in MotoGP. Yes, we can achieve both goals in 2019”.



Translated by Heather Watson

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