While Filippo Preziosi played his cards tantalizingly close to his chest at the Wrooom event, where Ducati launched their 2012 MotoGP challenger for the Marlboro Ducati factory team, satellite squad Cardion AB is being a lot more loose-lipped. Today, the team, which will be running Karel Abraham again in the MotoGP class, issued a press release full of some fascinating details about the satellite Ducati GP12 which Abraham will be racing this season.
According to the press release, the bike produces 250 horsepower, 15 hp up from the 800cc GP11 Abraham raced in 2011. Top speed is up also, from 340 km/h for the 800cc GP11 to 360 km/h (or nearly 225 mph) for the GP12. Both numbers are in the region expected, though numbers released through the factories tend to be intentionally inaccurate. Whether factory numbers are optimistic or pessimistic - and by how much - is left very much to the imagination of the reader.
A more interesting figure quoted in the press release is the engine capacity of the 2012 Ducati. The bike to be used by Karel Abraham will have a capacity of 999cc, according to the press release. Early reports on the GP12 suggested that Ducati might opt for a smaller engine capacity - 900 and 930cc were numbers being bandied about - with Filippo Preziosi encouraging such speculation. The thinking behind such a design was that with a bore limited to 81mm, fuel could be burned more efficiently, and at higher revs, with a shorter stroke engine than with a long stroke, large capacity engine. However, the lessons from Yamaha's first attempts at a MotoGP bike in 2002 and 2003 - which were both well under the maximum capacity of 990cc - were that although a smaller capacity engine could make the power with ease, the extra torque from more cubes made the bike easier to ride and more competitive.
The thinking behind full capacity for the 2012 machines is also informed by the engine allocation limits. If a 930cc engine proves not to be competitive, capacity cannot be increased without violating the engine rules. It is easier to manage power and fuel consumption with a large capacity engine, increasing power as fuel efficiency improves, than it is to build a new engine with a larger capacity.
How much resemblance the specs of Abraham's bike bear to the machines to be raced by the factory Ducatis remains to be seen. At Wrooom, Preziosi also revealed that the satellite machines of Abraham and Pramac's Hector Barbera will be replicas of the so-called GPZero tested by Valentino Rossi at Valencia last November. That means that the engine is the GP12 as originally designed and tested during 2011, in the aluminium twin spar chassis built for Ducati by FTR. Rossi's and Hayden's bikes are redesigned from the ground up, with the engine rumored to be very different (most probably, rotated backwards, as has happened for the 1199 Panigale) and the chassis radically modified, though still a twin spar. Whether Abraham and Barbera will get the new version of the GP12 later in the year remains to be seen, but is probably very unlikely.
Below are the two press releases issued by the Cardion AB team today:
Ducati Desmosedici GP12: Power increased by 15 HP, max speed up to 360 km/h
Czech motorcycle rider Karel Abraham will ride with more powerful and faster bike in his second season in the MotoGP class. The new Ducati Desmosedici GP12 is powered by four-stroke 1000 ccm engine with four cylinders and power of 250HP, which allows maximum speed of 360 km per hour.
Comparing to the last year's model, the new bike has completely modified concept. For example, carbon chassis is replaced by deltabox aluminium frame. "At first glance it may appear that the bike is similar to the last year's model, but under the fairing is a series of significant changes," says crew chief of Cardion AB Motoracing Marco Grana, who spent two weeks in Bologna with his colleagues from the Czech team.
Also the external part of the bike is slightly modified, but the design is still based on a combination of blue and white colors. "In 2012 we decided to return to the blue color a little bit, but I think that our bike will be still well recognizable," continues Karel Abraham. Atypical wings, which he used on the fairing of his bike in 2011 to increase the pressure on the front wheel, will disappear this year.
Most of the components on the new bike are from the same manufacturer as last year. Suspension of Abraham's bike is provided by Öhlins while the brakes are from Brembo. All teams from the premier class use Bridgestone tyres. "I tried the new bike during the post-season test in Valencia, but the first real test will be held at Sepang in Malaysia at the end of January. We need to be well prepared for the first test because we want to try a lot of things. We also must work on the set-up of the bike because the 2012 MotoGP season kicks off in Qatar on April 8th," added Karel Abraham.
According to the provisional entry list for the 2012 MotoGP World Championship, the Cardion AB Motoracing rider will compete against eleven bikes from Ducati, Honda and Yamaha. Other nine positions on the grid will be filled by CRT teams using bikes based on serial machines. Between many rookies are also Abraham's old friends from the Moto2 class, for example reigning Moto2 world champion Stefan Bradl. "Thanks to the increased number of riders, the MotoGP will be more attractive for spectators and for us. It's great that I will ride against my old rivals and friends, but I'm concetrating on my goal – be on the front positions as much as possible, regardless the factory machines or a CRT bikes."
Ducati Desmosedici GP12 of Cardion AB Motoracing
Bike made in Borgo Panigale factory in Bologna has a new 1000 ccm engine with power around 250 HP, which corresponds to a new rules in the MotoGP class for 2012 season.
The name is derived from atypical engine valve system, so-called desmodromic (valves are opened and closed by camshaft). Sedici is "sixteen" in Italian and indicates the number of valves in the engine.
Comparison of Ducati Desmosedici GP12 and GP11
|Ducati Desmosedici GP12||Ducati Desmosedici GP11|
|Weight: dry 155 kg||Weight: dry 150 kg|
|Max. speed: >360 km/h||Max. speed: >340 km/h|
|From 0 to 100 km/h: 2,6 s||From 0 to 100 km/h: 2,7 s|
|Power: 250 HP||Power: 235 HP|
Technical data of Ducati Desmosedici GP12
|Water-cooled four-stroke engine with four cylinders and four valves per cylinder which are controlled by desmodromic valve system. The cylinders are formed in an angle of 90 degrees.|
|Six-speed, with the possibility to adjust the ratio of degrees.|
|Ducati aluminium frame|
|Fronf fork:||Öhlins with a diameter of 48 mm|
|Brakes:||front four-piston Brembo calipers, 2x disc Brembo with a diameter of 320 mm, rear two-piston Brembo caliper, Brembo steel disc|
|Discs:||16,5" magnesium Marchesini|
|Fuel tank:||21 litres|