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MotoGP, Domenicali: "Marquez's performance should be related to the Ducati GP23"

EXCLUSIVE - "Considering that today with the GP24 there is a bit more difference than before. At Austin Marquez crashed, but he was doing a great performance, he was first. Ducati's challenge is to merge art and technology, but in MotoGP we are racing with a backpack on our back."

MotoGP: Domenicali:

Ducati is ready to get down to business, and it will do so on a special track, namely that of the Milan Design Week. Five years after the last time, the Borgo Panigale company will participate in the traditional Milan event through "Forma - Feelings designed by Ducati in Borgo Panigale": an exhibition detailing the process by which the design of Ducati motorcycles comes to life, through the continuous search for the combination of harmony of form and technical functionality.

The appointment for all enthusiasts is at the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology, Via Olona 6, with the Panigale V4 on display. At the presentation of the event, the company's number one, namely Claudio Domenicali, could not be absent.

In between meetings and appointments, the company's CEO kindly gave us part of his time to exchange a few words about design, motorcycles, track racing and more.

"The message we are sending out is to make it clear how central for Ducati is the fusion of technology and beauty, sophisticated technology and sensual beauty," he began, "that is, the idea that a Ducati is an object born from the union of a great engineering, scientific and technological approach together with a component of artistic beauty. The ability to find a solution to this very complicated equation is our challenge."

We can define it as a balancing act.
"That's right, because if we think about performance and science, the shapes are driven only by aerodynamic efficiency, so the motorcycle becomes an object like a Formula 1 or MotoGP, driven solely by performance. On the other hand, if we focus on art, it has no ability to meet anti-pollution regulations or safety, because it is expressed with great freedom on all fronts. For Ducati, having the ambition to merge art and technology represents the core value of the company."

Can we call it a two-wheeled work of art?
"Of course! We can call it that."

Speaking of merging art and technology, you are coming off the back of a record-breaking 2023 both on and off the track.
"Ours is a work that comes from afar, because while everyone preaches reducing product development time or working with virtual simulation to speed things up, we take the opposite view, because we incentivize engineers and designers to take the time they need to evaluate and reflect. We believe in the value of time, which in the end is a cost, but we believe that there is an additional value behind this cost, which is that of maturity and reflection, giving room for creativity. There are cases where a motorcycle is born as an idea of beauty in seven days and others in a year and a half. This is because there are times when people are more creative and others less so, although we still try to leave them space and time. In the end, time is an uncompressible variable in certain processes, and this is a piece of the Ducati philosophy that the company wants to tell with this exhibition."

Speaking of beauty, what is the Ducati that fascinates you the most?
"I would say the Panigale is our icon. It is the quintessence of our philosophy, because on the track it is a bike capable of lapping just 3 seconds from a MotoGP bike, considering the cost of 32,000 euros. Maybe it is a somewhat expensive object, but extraordinarily not unattainable or purchasable by a large audience of people. We have an object that allows you to arrive at great performance and at the same time with the intention of being looked at for its shapes. I think for example of the tail or the fact that the Panigale is beautiful monochrome without the need for graphics. This is because the beauty of monochrome does not need any makeup. I think it's beautiful the idea of shaping the material to make it so that once painted it can reflect light in such an exciting way, all with a 215-horsepower engine inside it, capable of arriving at only 3 seconds slower than a MotoGP bike."

Speaking of MotoGP: for Ducati, in Austin, the race was good until the middle, then you had to give way to Aprilia and Vinales.
"The race was very good, although we didn't have the best race we could have had. The championship is long and still there were three Ducatis in the top five places. Obviously we can't win every race, because then the journalists complain that the Championship is one-make (smiles), but I would like to remind everyone that this year Ducati is racing with a handicap and I think it's interesting to remember that in the face of a race like Sunday's."

How much do the new regulations affect Ducati?
"The body that regulates the championship has issued a series of concessions, which have offered advantages to everyone except Ducati, allowing our opponents to do wildcards in which they can develop the bike. In addition, Ducati has been limited in the number of tires while other manufacturers, who have not managed their development processes well, have been given large concessions. Let's say that we are racing with a backpack on our shoulders that certainly does not make us race faster than before. We accepted this, aware of the limitations applied."

Marquez was leading the race in Austin before he crashed. Did he surprise you?
"Marc showed that he is still in great shape and he made a mistake. However, you have to interpret the fact that he rides a GP23 and his performance has to be related to those who have the same bike as him. As of today there is a bit more difference between the GP23 and GP24 than in the past. That said, Marc had a very good race. He is putting himself out there and maybe it was more comfortable to stay where he was. He risked a lot of his own by making that choice and sportingly I think it's to be appreciated. At Austin he was doing a great performance, in fact he crashed out of first. At the end of the day this is the world of racing and we are happy to have him with us."

Also present at the appointment in Milan was Andrea Iannone, accompanied for the occasion by his brother Angelo. Regarding the performance of the rider from Vasto and Ducati in Superbike, which is leading the World Championship with Nicolò Bulega, CEO Claudio Domenicali also gave his views, which you can read about soon ahead of the Assen round.


Translated by Julian Thomas

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