How Rossi will make better Ducatis

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“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,” said Ducati general director Claudio Domenicali earlier today. “We think this skill will give us a big push for improving our engineering, and to always give our fans the best bikes possible.”

Claudio was launching the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 and officially welcoming Valentino Rossi into the Ducati fold, but he also gave some fascinating insights into the racer’s role in developing future street bikes, including the 1198 successor that’s expected next year.

“MotoGP [is] not only a venue for winning, but also a laboratory for advanced research,” continues Claudio. “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.”

Most Ducati models now come with traction control, while bikes like the Ducati 1198 SP also come with data collection equipment and quick shifters as standard.

Rossi is legendary not just for his ability to win races, but also his uncanny ability to develop motorcycles. When he first transfered from Honda to Yamaha in 2004, the M1 was largely viewed as uncompetitive, yet he won his first ever race on the bike, won the Championship in 2005 and now, seven years after he started work on the bike, the M1 dominates. It was Rossi’s ability to extract the best possible performance out of a bike that led him to believe Jorge Lorenzo was receiving an unfair advantage by being his teammate and led to the wall between their two garages being constructed.

Now, with Rossi providing feedback on technology trickling down to road bikes, this ability should allow Ducati to work faster and more effectively. If this process is anything like what occurred on the Yamaha MotoGP team, Ducati will be able to develop more effective technical solutions more rapidly thanks to Rossi’s input.

“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,” continues Claudio.“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.”

  • jwinter

    Not to diminish Rossi’s prowess but Jerry Burgess has likely been pretty essential to translating Valentino’s input into tangible improvements. I think Burgess is pretty brilliant.

  • ike6116

    It probably doesn’t hurt that Rossi and the Engineers will share the same native tongue.

  • Myles

    So now Ducks will be rattley, too expensive, and only a tiny bit slower than a CBR? I just don’t understand the mystique of the brand. Something like Bimota is at least rare and holds unique styling – Duck is a complete exercise in marketing and gimmicks.

    • T Diver

      No doubt. I got it. They are awesome bikes that cost a grip. This really came across as overdone PR garbage though. What builder doesn’t use racer feedback to build better bikes? I don’t buy it. It will be amusing if the new Kawasaki beats the Ducks.

      • Turf

        it’ll be amusing is kawi isn’t a backmarker

      • Myles

        Derestricted zx10r will murder an 1198 in every measurable way. CBR that was launched in 08 is quicker around almost every track than an 1198. Yet the CBR is a “boring japanese” bike and a Duck has “Italian mystique”.

  • mugget

    What’s almost more exciting than all of the Rossi hype is what sportsbike Ducati will come out with next… here’s dreaming about a production V4 (not like the super-limited D16RR). Surely the L-twin has reached the top of it’s development. Hoping for a production bike that has more of a direct evolution from MotoGP. Ducati would own… more hype than the S1000RR, and the hype could be real!

    Or am I just dreaming? Well I gotta fill in the off-season somehow…

  • Marlon

    It’ll be interesting to see what this does to Stoners reputation. If Rossi sorts out the front end problem that Casey had it’s not a good look. I agree with the other bloke who said Burgess was essential to Rossi’s success. Where is he working this year?

    • mugget

      Will it really make that much difference to Stoners reputation? Maybe average Joe may come to that conclusion, but I would say it says more for the engineers/technicians working around Stoner. After all – Stoner had been complaining about the front end for a long time. Then suddenly Rossi comes along and says “gotta improve the front end”, then they’re all keen for it – “oh yeah, let’s change the front end!”. Hmmm…