Wednesday 12 January 2011: Wrooom Press Ski Meeting, Madonna di Campiglio (Trento, Italy): The spectacular scenery of the Trento Dolomites served as the background for the first official photos of the Desmosedici GP11 in its new livery, while today’s meeting with the press starred Claudio Domenicali, General Director of Ducati Motor Holding, and Filippo Preziosi, General Director of Ducati Corse.
“The 2011 season opens a sort of third phase for our MotoGP project,” Claudio Domenicali began after saluting the audience. “The first was with Loris Capirossi, who in just six races took the Desmosedici to its first win. The second brought the world championship crown, thanks to Casey Stoner, in 2007. The big news for 2011, which opens a third phase, is the arrival of Valentino Rossi on the team. It’s an important phase for our company, which relies a lot on research and development, and which uses the MotoGP series not only as a venue for winning, but also as a laboratory for advanced research. Valentino is universally recognized as a master at taking a bike to its limits, but also at providing feedback that’s extremely useful for development. We think this skill will give us a big push for improving our engineering, and to always give our fans the best bikes possible. Many of the models we’ve produced in recent years, starting with the 1198—our flagship sport bike—but also bikes intended for less extreme application, including the Multistrada 1200, Streetfighter, Diavel, and Monster, boast technical characteristics that come directly from our experience in MotoGP, like traction control and aspects of electronic engine management. This will happen even more with the new generation of sport bikes that we’re working on now, bikes in which this link will be even more direct, from electronic management strategies to the chassis to the motor. Filippo’s work with both of our riders will be even more evident, and we’re certain that the possibility of also having Valentino test our new models and give us his impressions will make this flow of technology even more effective. It’s an important challenge and a big responsibility, but also a great opportunity to grow, made possible by a combination of factors: In my opinion, there are three principals. First: The positive results that the company is having in a very difficult, contracting market. In the year just concluded, we grew our sales by 5% despite the fact that the segment for large-displacement motorcycles shrunk by over 13% in 2010."
“Second: the faith in the MotoGP project demonstrated by our majority shareholder, the Bonomi family’s Investindustrial.
“Third: the valuable support of our sponsors, from Title Sponsor Marlboro to our official sponsors, Telecom, Generali, Enel, Shell, Riello UPS; the addition of important new partners like Diesel and AMG; companies that have renewed their commitment; and others that have joined us.”
“The thing that struck me the most about Vale,” said Preziosi in response to the first question, “ is his great ability to create a positive climate around himself. On the other hand, one thing that I’d heard about him but that I found to be even more true than I expected was his ability to analyze details in the bike’s behavior and to describe them in an incredibly precise way. It’s very valuable because the rider is gives us considerable information that we wouldn’t otherwise have. The quality of this information will make a big difference.”
Moving on to the topic of the GP11, the Ducati engineer explained the principal changes for the new season. “The bike we see here at Madonna di Campiglio is the GP11 ‘step 0,’ as it represents the initial level from which we plan to evolve. The principal characteristics are the evolution of the motor and of the throttle body thought to obtain, fundamentally, a flatter and more useable power curve. As for the chassis, the aerodynamics are completely new, with the goal of improving top speed, reducing consumption, and also reducing front lift as much as possible. Other aspects we’re working on for the Malaysia tests in February are the new frame, which has already undergone various tests of rigidity and flex—for torsion and under braking—a swingarm with different rigidity characteristics, and a fork that combines the 2011 hydraulics with the 42mm tubes, instead of 48. As for the electronics, we’re working on wheelie control and traction control. These are all solutions that we’ll try out next week at Jerez with three days of testing and two development teams—one for Franco Battaini and one for Vittoriano Guareschi—and that Valentino and Nicky will then try in Malaysia. We know that Valentino isn’t at 100%, and Sepang is a very ‘physical’ track, so we’ll try to optimize his sessions and to use his time on the track in a ‘surgical’ way in order to have his feedback. Many tests will also be entrusted to Nicky Hayden, who will be able to ride normally. We’re working hard, but the atmosphere at Ducati is really nice, very electric and positive, and we can’t wait to get back on the track.”