MotoGP: Ducati designer reveals 2008 targets

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The man behind Ducati’s dominant GP7 machine has revealed some of the key performance targets to help keep Casey Stoner ahead of rivals Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa in 2008.

Ducati Technical Director Filippo Preziosi will get his first chance to gauge new improvements when world champion Casey Stoner makes his debut on the new GP8 machine tomorrow (Tuesday) in Jerez.

Aussie Stoner missed the recent Sepang test while Ducati built up his new machine in time for this week’s three-day test session in Jerez.

Filippo Preziosi said the new bike features more refined rather than radical changes, with the bike looking virtually identical to the V4 Casey Stoner won 10 races on in an incredible 2007 campaign.

Ducati won 11 out of 18 races in 2007 with Loris Capirossi winning in Japan, as the Bologna factory celebrated its first ever premier class world title.

“The bike will look like the GP7 from the outside,” Preziosi told MCN in an exclusive interview.

“We have changed some chassis parts and some engine parts but they are not visible from the outside.”

“The main goal is to reach better drivability. We are also looking for better stability. I think it will be small step but I hope in the right direction.

“Casey is unbelievable so we just have to be sure to give him enough time to test the new parts to be sure that we are going in the right direction. If not we can comeback,” said Filippo Preziosi.

Ducati’s GP7 stunned the paddock in the early part of the first 800cc campaign, with its top speed crushing the Japanese factory bikes.

Asked what engine improvements Casey Stoner could expect he said:  “A better connection between the throttle and the rear tyre.

“We want the riders to feel that the bike is doing exactly what they want when they twist the throttle in every corner exit and acceleration point. We can do this mechanically and electronically.”

Filippo Preziosi said the new motor wouldn’t see a significant jump in horsepower and top speed, with the 21-lite fuel tank capacity restricting engineers from drastically increasing engine performance.

Preziosi believes Ducati, Honda and Kawasaki are already close to the limit of power attainable under the current rules.

“Yes they are close to the limit of displacement and fuel consumption. There isn’t a big space to improve power.

“I think the limit of the power is written in the rules. We started with a very powerful engine but very soon Honda arrived at the same level.

“Now I think we are exactly on the same level. Even Kawasaki is very fast so I think these three manufacturers did the best job they could.

“I don’t expect a big improvement in power from those manufacturers. I expect the others soon will arrive to our level,” said Preziosi.

Improvements from the chassis are designed to make the bike easier to ride over a full race distance, according to Filippo Preziosi, who said he was unconcerned that Ducati’s 2007 chassis had too much movement under braking and hard acceleration.

“I think every bike when you push a lot moves a lot. If you look at the crash of Valentino in Valencia, the bike was moving a lot.

“What we have to do is to improve the bike and have a higher limit, so when the rider has to push for the limits it is easier to reach it.

“We need the bike to be more comfortable over a race distance,” he concluded.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt