It has been a busy day for announcements at Misano. After the earlier official news that Aprilia will be returning to MotoGP in 2015 with Gresini, this afternoon, Avintia Racing announced they will be switching to Ducati hardware for the 2015 season and beyond.
At a press conference held in the Avintia hospitality unit, Antonio Martin, boss of both Avintia Racing and the Avintia construction company which is the team's title sponsor, and Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna announced a two-year deal, which will see Avintia field Ducati Desmosedici GP14s running Open class software in 2015, and GP15s running the spec software in 2016. Hector Barbera will be on one bike in 2015, but the second seat at Avintia is still open.
Dall'Igna told the press conference that the move was very important for Ducati, as it would give them a head start on working with the Open software, which will form the basis of the spec software to be introduced from 2016 onwards. That had been the objective with Yonny Hernandez at Pramac, but when the special exception was made for Ducati to use their own software, Hernandez was given the Ducati software to use, rather than the Open class software.
The project will be well supported by Ducati, with two Ducati technicians in the Avintia garage to help with set up and to develop the Open class software to work with the Desmosedici engine. The bike is being provided at a "reasonable" cost, Dall'Igna said. When asked if the price fell inside the target set by Dorna of €1 million per bike, per year, Dall'Igna said that viewed over two years, the total cost would be somewhere close to that, viewed over the two-year period of the contract.
Hector Barbera may not have to wait until the Valencia test at the end of the year to climb aboard the Desmosedici. Ducati is to have a test at Mugello in the days before the Aragon MotoGP round, which will see Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone test the GP14.2, a major upgrade to the existing bike, while Barbera will test the GP14 on Open software. If the test is a success, then Dovizioso and Iannone will use the new bike from Aragon onwards, while Barbera will switch to the GP14 with Open software from that race.