Ducati launch Stoner's carbon fibre MotoGP bike

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Ducati has officially unveiled its 2009 factory GP9 MotoGP contender that Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden will campaign next season.

Although a special launch photo shoot in Madonna di Campiglio has been postponed until tomorrow (Thursday) because of snow at the Italian ski resort this morning,

Ducati has unveiled studio shots of the new bike.

The most significant change from the GP8 machine that Aussie Stoner won six races on last season is a radical new carbon fibre chassis.

Ducati Corse CEO Claudio Domenicali said: “The GP9 represents a major change because for the first time for many years we have changed a few concepts, which were part of the DNA of our firm.

“We have made many tests and essentially we have a new frame and that is the major change. In a non-conventional way it represents a new structure, which is quite innovative.

“Without going into too many details we replaced the traditional frame with a carbon fibre frame, which links the upper part of the motor with the steering column.

“We wanted to have a better compromise between the weight of the bike and the rigidity of the bike. This was first thought about and then we did a series of tests, first with Vittoriano Gaureschi who is our first judge when we test these solutions.

“Vitto promoted this solution and from the tests done by the official riders in Barcelona, they also gave us positive feedback, so we continued with the adjustments and decided to opt for this new strategy.

“From a certain point of view it has been complex and also image wise because the tube frame has always been the basis of our bike. The traditional frame works extremely well because we won the MotoGP and WSB championship with this structure.

“Now we think the new frame will be even better, but only the facts will tell us if this is going to be the best solution or not.”

In giving a brief summary of the philosophy and performance targets behind the GP9 machine, Domenicali also said that Ducati had not significantly increased horsepower.

Instead, the main focus of engine development had been on improving drivability.

He added: “Apart from the tubular steel trellis chassis other things have changed. Among these we have changed the philosophy with how we manage the engine in terms of a new combination of the airbox and calibration of the engine with new mapping.

“We have tried to make the torque curve as flat as possible and look for better drivability. One of the problems of these bikes has always been how fickle it is to manage the engine.

“It has a lot of rpm and the capacity to better manage the rpm is better if the torque curve is flat and we have a linear response from the engine.

“This is why we have focused not so much on improving overall power, which is more or less the same as last year, but we have focused on increasing the drivability of the bike.

“Other changes to the suspension and electronics are just small evolution steps. This is just continued development of our bike.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt