Launched amid much fanfare at a ski resort in the Italian Alps, Ducati’s 2008 MotoGP contender, the GP8, looks very similar to last year’s model. Well, aside from the big number one on the front. The big changes lie underneath the bright red fairing.
>Speaking to the assembled horde of Ducatisti, Claudio Domenicali, the
company’s CEO, revealed the details. “Our 2008 bike is an evolution of
the 2007 model, how could we have done otherwise? There was so very
little wrong with that bike.
“We worked on all areas. In terms of chassis set-up, the new frame is
lighter with optimized tensional and flexural rigidity to solve the
rather minimal chattering that we experienced on a few occasions last
year. The rear suspension geometry is also different to reduce the
‘pumping’ effect observed in certain tracks and in special conditions.
As for the engine, we worked on two areas. First of all, performance.
We introduced a number of modifications to minimize friction and obtain
a small power increase without affecting fuel consumption. Secondly, we
worked on readability, in other words, engine response proportional to
the rider’s torque requirements. We tackled this aspect to obtain a
fuller engine response especially mid-range and maintain peak power for
“Finally, with regards to electronics, we modified a few sensors and
actuator details to increase reliability and consequently, safety. One
of the main reasons of our presence in racing is to develop technology
to be transferred to production bikes, improving safety and making them
even more fun to ride. Electronics play an important role in all this.
An example of this is our new 1098 R, which is equipped with exactly
the same traction control system used in Ducati racing bikes, making it
the first bike in the world to feature a system able to combine safety
with high performance.”
We’ll see if Ducati’s evolutionary approach will keep it ahead of the
pack on the night of March 9, at the Grand Prix of Qatar.