The announcement by MegaRide, an Italian vehicle dynamics start up, that they had signed a collaboration agreement with Ducati Corse to supply and develop tire simulation software set the motorcycle racing rumor mill alight. The wording of the press release, combined with a general lack of knowledge among many MotoGP fans and journalists about exactly how the spec Magneti Marelli operates, left many questions about the exact nature of the software, and how Ducati were using it.
Fans and journalists interpreted the collaboration to mean that Ducati were already using the MegaRide software to extract greater performance from the Michelin tires. The fact that Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo would regularly be able to use the softer compounds Michelin brought to races was seen as proof of this.
There was good reason to believe that the MegaRide software could offer an advantage in terms of tire wear. The Italian company, which had emerged from Vehicle Dynamics research group of the University of Naples, is working on software aiming at using computer simulations to model tire use and behavior. Those simulations can then be used to provide a feedback loop to vehicle settings, adjusting engine characteristics to maximize tire performance. The MegaRide software is capable of doing such simulations in real time, if it has access to the data. But as real time data access and telemetry is expressly forbidden in MotoGP, this is not an option for Ducati.
Though the MegaRide software may offer an advantage in the future, it has not yet had a role to play for Ducati Corse. At Silverstone, I spoke to Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna about their collaboration with MegaRide, and he explained that while they are not yet using the software, it is part of a long-term project started back in 2014 focusing on tire performance. The software showed much promise for the future, but much research had already been done on the subject.
Here is what Dall'Igna had to say:
David Emmett: What was the process which led up to this collaboration?
Gigi Dall'Igna: The tires are one of the most important things, making that the tires work well with the bikes is one of the goals of the racing department, for sure. So, since the beginning, we started to try to understand the tire behavior on our bike, even with Bridgestone, not only with Michelin. You probably saw many times our test bike with some special device attached to it. The main focus of that device was to understand better the behavior of the tires. So we've been working with this test system since 2014, even before.
DE: The MegaRide system is the next logical step?
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