MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Covid delays Ducati’s next big redesign to 2022
Ducati is working on a major redesign of its Desmosedici MotoGP bike but can’t race the machine this season due to Covid engine-freeze regulations
Everyone knows that turning performance has been Ducati’s biggest concern for years. Whatever factory engineers have done to make the Desmosedici turn better and faster through corners hasn’t worked, so now chief engineer Gigi Dall’Igna has an all-new motorcycle on the way.
Only one problem – the new Desmosedici chassis requires an engine with a new type of mounting. This wouldn’t usually be an issue, but last April MotoGP reacted to the global Covid pandemic by announcing emergency cost-cutting regulations, including restricting manufacturers to 2020 engine specs throughout the coming season.
Obviously Ducati won’t reveal exact details of its new design, which engineers hope will work much better with Michelin’s latest rear slick. All factory team manager Davide Tardozzi will say is this, “Our main revolution will be 2022 because we will be able to change things that are now blocked – it’s about how the chassis connects with the engine.”
Most likely the 2022 redesign involves work on stiffness, which involves both chassis and engine. Stiffness is a critical area of MotoGP technology that has a huge effect on turning performance. For example, engineering just the right amount of lateral flex at the right point in the chassis can help to create a kind of self-steering effect in corners.
Ducati has much less experience of aluminium beam frames than its Japanese rivals, so it’s no real surprise the company is still playing catch up. Its current chassis concept hasn’t really changed in six seasons, with frequent detail updates only making marginal inroads into the Desmosedici’s turning difficulties.
The GP22 will be tested during 2021 but won’t be allowed to race until the start of the 2022 world championship. (NB: Ducati has officially dropped the Desmosedici’s GP/year model suffix, but no one is letting them get away with it!)
So what else can Ducati do to improve its chances of battling for the 2021 MotoGP championship, after a gloomy 2020?
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.