The dangers of modern technology are notorious, and easily overlooked. As any visitor who has done Ducati's excellent factory tour can affirm, the racing department, Ducati Corse, is closely guarded, with only a small glass window for the curious to peer through. All requests for entry are politely but firmly declined, for fear of anything leaking out before a formal announcement.
Of course, that does not stop news from getting out inadvertently. The Italian site GPOne.com had an interesting "scoop" today, displaying a "spy" photo of Ducati's brand new 2010 Desmosedici GP10 MotoGP bike. And who is to blame for this indiscretion? A sleeper planted by the covert industrial espionage unit of a rival factory? A cunning and resourceful Italian photo journalist talking his way in under false pretenses?
It was none of those things. In fact, the shot was taken by Marlboro Ducati rider Nicky Hayden, in a blog post on his very own website. Hayden took the shot using his iPhone, during a visit to the Ducati factory he made to keep up to speed on the progress being made with the GP10. Whether Ducati intended for the shot to leak out or not is not known, but the fact that Hayden took the fact on his cellphone highlights the ubiquity of technology, and the difficulty of controlling it. One major European car manufacturer has banned all cellphones from its R&D facilities, and Ducati Corse may be wishing they had done the same.
MotoGP fans and followers will be glad of Hayden's indiscretion, however. The photo shows some interesting details, giving an insight into Ducati's current thinking about the MotoGP bike. The most obvious change to the bike is the enlarged side vent in the fairing. This serves to channel heat away from the engine as quickly as possible, something the Ducati is notorious for producing. The enlarged panel is probably a part of the engine life extension program, as any drop in engine temperature allows the engines to last longer, and with just 6 engines to last for all 18 races of the 2010 MotoGP season, engine temperature is going to be a critical factor. The fairing also looks to be slightly more rounded than the 2009 version, perhaps creating a slightly larger air bubble for riders to hide behind, thereby improving the aerodynamics.
Those longing for more details will have to be patient. The bike is not due to be officially unveiled until January, at Ducati's annual WROOM event, which traditionally takes place in the middle of January.