January 20, 2006 – At the beginning of each racing season, just before the engines fire in anger for the first time after the Christmas lull, Ducati’s MotoGP team and Ferrari’s Formula One team share an annual appointment on the mountains of Madonna di Campiglio in Trento with a media and ski get-together - the formula of the event revolves around skiing in the mountains together with a round of press meetings and conferences. This year Ducati took the opportunity to pull the wraps off the Desmosedici GP06, the new MotoGP machine that Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau will be campaigning this season.
This year the Desmosedici GP06 has its best chance yet to win the championship, with Loris Capirossi showing in the latter half of 2005 that the Ducati was capable of defeating the Yamaha-Rossi juggernaut fair and square - Capirossi’s performances in Czechoslovakia, Japan, Qatar and Malaysia underlined that the team is capable of putting it together consistently. Always the fastest bike in a straight line (347.4 km/h - the top speed of the Desmosedici reached on the Barcelona straight during the 2004 IRTA test: this is believed to be the highest speed ever measured by a racing bike on a race circuit), the Ducati lacked the handling finesse to be able to mix it at the very front. But even when Capirossi was injured, his lesser-light team-mate Carlos Checa put together a string of competitive performances, suggesting the team was on the verge of something big. With the addition of Sete Gibernau for 2006, the stage is set for an enthralling year.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
This year, the new bike is an evolution of the 2005 machine, though Ducati pointed out that of the 2,193 components that made up the Desmosedici GP5, 912 have been completely redesigned in the 2006 machine.
Claudio Domenicali, Ducati Corse Managing-Director, was on hand to illustrate the key technical changes for the new bike from the Borgo Panigale manufacturer.
“Racing in MotoGP allows us to operate with machines that are pure prototypes, developing technology that will subsequently be transferred to our production bikes. Ducati has always borrowed concepts and innovations from the racing world, and we transfers the possible benefits to our entire production range” declared Domenicali to the press after unveiling the Desmosedici GP06. “The Desmosedici GP06 represents an evolution of the GP05; apparently it doesn’t present any marked differences with its predecessor, but it is in fact an important step forward. The bike is lighter but we have done a lot of work on its stiffness (with the frame, rims and front forks), especially at the rear of the bike. The composite structure that we call the seat support has been totally redesigned and stiffness has been increased by more than 80%."
"The bike’s ergonomics have undergone a notable evolution with the fuel tank modified in line with requests from the riders. We have also focussed on the bike’s ‘driveability’, and in this area we have made available a whole new range of instruments and technologies that will allow the race engineers to package the power behaviour and delivery of the engine according to the requests of the riders and the conditions of the track. We have also worked on engine power, modifying the internal fluid dynamics and as a result we have a different thermodynamic layout. We have attempted to increase power as well as reduce fuel consumption, an area to which we have dedicated a lot of attention, by working maniacally on engine friction. One point of which we are particularly proud is the reliability of the bike; in 2005 we took part in 17 races with two riders, without ever having a problem, and we have also maintained this line for the next season.”
“The evolution of the bike has obviously involved our partner, Bridgestone. Even though we know that we still have some work to do on certain kinds of track, we also know that we are on the right road and the results of the last few races of last season confirmed this improvement; our aim now is to be competitive at every circuit.”
“The 2006 team is a very strong one on the rider front. Loris is a confirmation for us and as soon as the bike-tyre package allows, he makes no mistakes and brings home great results. A warm welcome for Sete Gibernau, whose joining us is a clear demonstration of the importance that is given in our team to the role of the riders: Sete is a great rider and he and Loris together make up a great team.”
The fun and frolicking in the snow of Madonna di Campiglio will soon be forgotten as the season preparations hit full swing in a few days time. From Monday the Ducati Marlboro Team will get down to its first test of the new season at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia (January 23-25), immediately followed by another three-day test session at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia from January 30 to February 2.View gallery - 24 images