With less than two weeks to go before the first official MotoGP test in 2018 at Sepang International Circuit (January 28-30), the Ducati Team unveiled its Desmosedici GP18 prototype alongside factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, and test rider Michele Pirro.The pre-season press event, held this year in Ducati Auditorium in Bologna, is typically highlighted by the factory Ducati pilots. But this year it was hard to focus on the riders due to the radical bodywork on the new Desmosedici GP18 (more Formula 1 than MotoGP?).
The Ducati MotoGP team, led by Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager), spent much time redesigning the bodywork for better aerodynamics, and it’s very apparent. After Ducati’s Dovizioso took the title chase down to the final round in Valencia – he crashed out and Marc Marquez claimed his fourth MotoGP title with Repsol Honda – the team went back to the drawing board in hopes of even stronger performance in 2018.“When you come close to winning the title, like last year, it’s easy to lose direction in the development of the bike, and so all the innovations that we will introduce on the new Desmosedici GP will be characterized by evolution, not revolution,” said Luigi Dall’Igna.“I believe that both Ducati Team riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, are true added value for us and that both of them can aim for the world title in 2018. We only have to make one final step, and we know that it’s not going to be easy because we are up against some really tough rivals and with companies that are much bigger than us. In any case we will try and do everything possible to make 2018 a truly memorable year for us and for all the Ducatisti.”Both riders also discussed last season and the goals for 2018 MotoGP, which begins March 18 in Qatar.“Last year was a superb and very successful one, and we also learned a lot of things on which we can continue to work this year,” said Andrea Dovizioso. “Our bike still had certain characteristics that made life difficult on several tracks and for 2018, we have focused on improving these aspects because we must always be in a position to fight for the podium, at every circuit.“After finishing runner-up with six wins in 2017, naturally our objective can be nothing less than fight to win the championship, but we must remain with our feet firmly on the ground because we know that each year brings with it something different. In any case we are starting off with the competitive level of last year and we must only remain focused 100% like last year, when me and my team worked really well together.”Jorge Lorenzo said “2017 was quite a difficult year for me, because I didn’t even win one race and at the start of the championship I wasn’t able to fight for the podium, but I was patient and never gave up, and in the last few races we finally scored some quite good results.“The work of the team was very important and Ducati helped me a lot to adapt the bike to my riding style, and so I think that in 2018 we’ll be starting with a much more competitive base. Andrea and the Desmosedici GP demonstrated that we have everything in place to try and win the world championship, and I think that I have the strength and the experience necessary to fight together with him to achieve this aim.“I believe a lot in our chances and I’m convinced that we are stronger than one year ago. For me to be a Ducatista is something really special: I’m very proud to have accepted this challenge and I have felt part of the family since the very first day, and so I’d like to repay the passion and the support we receive from Ducatisti all over the world with lots of wins and, if possible, with the world title.”Following are the official specs of the Ducati GP18, and the career statistics of Dovizioso and Lorenzo.
2018 Ducati Desmosedici GP18 Technical Specs:
Engine: Liquid cooled, 90° V4, four stroke, evo desmodromic DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Maximum power: Over 250hp
Maximum speed: Over 350 km/h (218 mph)
Transmission: Ducati Seamless Transmission (DST_EVO). Chain final drive
Fueling: Indirect electronic injection, four throttle bodies with injectors above and below the butterfly valves. Throttles operated by the new EVO 2 TCF (Throttle Control & Feedback) system
Fuel: Shell Racing V Power
Lubricant: Shell Advance Ultra 4
Final Drive: D.I.D Chain
Frame: Aluminum alloy evo twin spar
Suspension: Öhlins inverted 48mm front fork and Öhlins rear shock absorber, adjustable for preload, new factory evolution damping system
Electronics: Magneti Marelli ECU programmed with Dorna Unified Software
Tires: Michelin 17″ front and rear
Brakes: Brembo, two 340mm carbon front discs with four piston calipers. Single stainless steel rear disc with two piston caliper
Dry weight: 157 kg (346.1 lbs.)
Andrea Dovizioso Racing Statistics:
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race Number: 04
GPs started: 276 (178 x MotoGP, 49 x 250cc, 49 x 125cc)
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!