Of the first two presentations of the seasons, that put on by Ducati provided us with the most information, though we didn't like the ‘damnatio memoriae' that Andrea Iannone was subjected to, totally missing (along with his Austrian GP victory) from the video.
Speaking with Gigi Dall’Igna, we noted how the Borgo Panigale manufacturer has still not digested the wing ‘ban’, citing dangerousness as an excuse: “the MotoGP is definitely less safe without spoilers”, stated the designer of the Desmosedici, while Claudio Domenicali didn't hold back either.
Having informed us that the engine of the GP17 has been significantly redesigned, and now boasts better performance “thanks to a different overall approach, though it is still a 90° V”, Domenicali lingered on what makes Ducati what it is.
“A business with an Italian heart and a German mind, which invests in young people, offering them work opportunities rather than pushing them to move overseas. It's true, Audi is on our backs, wanting results, but that's extra motivation. When you write that 40% of young people are unemployed, consider that fact that, thanks to Ducati, some great engineers can remain in Italy, rather than going abroad. There is excellence in Bologna too, in Emilia Romagna, an Italian region".
The manager also spoke about support, taken to mean passion.
“Ducati is not anti-Rossi. It's right that there's support for one or the other. Support is great. There are all types of supporters, of fans. The important thing is that this doesn't deteriorate into faux pas, into booing and spitting. We are not against Valentino, we are ducatisti, and it's normal that Italians support Italian riders, but we are that too. Sure, if we were to win the title with Lorenzo it would be embarrassing”, he concluded, alluding to the 'valentino years'.
In his role of Conductor, Domenicali also revealed that the next Superbike will have a V-4 engine, and not the classic twin.
“The development we've carried out with the MotoGP has been exceptional – he explained with pride – we have a very reliable engine, compact and equipped with interesting technology. We are seriously considering producing a version for the customers, because it is start of the art motorcycling technology”.
Domenicali then clarified that this bike, due to the fact that it would be destined to take part in the production-derived racing series, won't be a new Desmosedici road bike, like the limited edition model that was produced, with costs that meant it was out of most fans' reach, and that “it would instead be sold in the Premium segment, but at a reasonable price”. So just like the Panigale R ridden today by the Davies-Melandri pairing.
Lips are still sealed with regard to the V-4 project. What is certain is that the Panigale will compete as far as 2018. Then, that year, the four-cylinder should appear and would probably be seen on track in national series or, perhaps, in the Superstock, to solve the inevitable teething problems. It would then debut in Superbike in 2019, or beyond.
We'll have to see whether, in the meantime, Ducati gets involved in the Moto3 project, something that was hinted at last year (see the VIDEO with the statement) by Dall’Igna and then blocked to allow the Veneto engineer to focus fully on the MotoGP.
There are many irons in the fire in Borgo Panigale. A world title would certainly help too.