Ducati unveils new GP15 Desmosedici
Ducati has given a first public showing of the radical new GP15 Desmosedici it hopes will threaten Honda and Yamaha’s recent domination of the MotoGP world championship.
The new bike is the first to be completely designed by Ducati’s technical guru Gigi Dall’Igna, who joined the Bologna factory at the end of 2013.
Dall’Igna rolled out three versions of the GP14 model last year, including an updated GP14.3 that was tested during the recent Sepang 1 session in Malaysia earlier this month.
The new bike will be tested for the first time by Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone when winter testing resumes for the second Sepang showdown in Malaysia next Monday (February 23).
Dovizioso and Iannone impressed on the GP14.3, with the latter ending the three-day session third quickest behind dominant Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
But it is the GP15 that Ducati hopes will see its long-running victory drought come to an end in 2015.
Ducati has won’t won a race since Casey Stoner triumphed on home soil at Phillip Island in 2010.
And the glory days of Aussie Stoner’s brilliant charge to the 2007 world championship seems like a distant memory.
Ducati’s fall from grace was never more evident that a nightmare two-year struggle by nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi to make the Desmosedici competitive again.
Rossi scored just three podiums for Ducati but the Bologna factory did show signs of big improvement last season.
But Ducati enjoyed something of a mini revival in 2014 with Dall'Igna's influence starting to take hold after he took over from German Berhnard Gobmeier.
Dovizioso scored Ducati’s first premier class pole position in four years when he topped qualifying at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan last October. And that came after he’s scored podiums in Austin and Assen just a year after Ducati struggled to even make the top six.
Cal Crutchlow also scored a podium in a rain-hit Motorland Aragon clash, as Ducati capitalised on several performance concessions to help drag it out of the doldrums.
Ducati could use its own factory-spec software, but it also qualified for the new Open class benefits as a manufacturer without a dry win the previous season.
So Ducati has access to softer tyres, extra fuel and is not restricted by the in-season engine development freeze.
It is hoped the GP15 will finally be the solution to Ducati's long-running understeer issue that has dogged the project for years.