“[The engine limit] was a change that will be very useful and interesting, also because normally in racing, durability isn't the principal objective,” he said.
“Perhaps this new objective has enabled us to perform a series of experiments that will also be interesting for the new production engines that we're developing because at this point they become almost comparable.
“For a production engine, 2,000 kilometres of track use is a severe challenge so we start to think that the race engine durability is comparable with production engines.”
With the increased reliability demands certain to hurt outright performance to some extent, it might be surprising that Ducati has decided - after successfully (for Stoner at least) running a 'screamer' engine design for the first three years of 800cc competition - to switch to a 'big bang' firing order for 2010.
Big bang engines were used throughout the MotoGP field by the end of the 990cc era, when horsepower was in excess, but when the capacity was cut to 800cc for 2007 Ducati (unlike its Japanese rivals) decided horsepower would once again be king and opted for an even-firing engine - with which Stoner stormed to world championship victory.
Despite the increased reliability required for 2010, Ducati now feels that it is generating more than enough horsepower from its V4 powerplant - and has decided that the increased rideability provided by 'big bang' technology now outweighs the potential power loss.
Ducati's decision should mean that only Honda, which switched to a screamer during 2007, will start the 2010 season without a big bang engine.
“The second big news isn't related to the rules, but to our attempt to make the bike more rideable. This has to do with the firing order,” confirmed Domenicali. “We have a motor that, since the switch to 800s, utilized a screamer setup.
“This has permitted us to have maximum power, which was very important and was probably fundamental with the results that we've had in 2007, 2008 and 2009, but at a certain point, we began to wonder whether it could be worthwhile to re-test a way that we'd already followed in the past.
“The last 990cc motors that we made in 2005 and 2006 used a big-bang firing order, and this gave us important rideability. We re-tested that way, first trying it on the dyno, then with Vittoriano Guareschi in his previous role as test rider and then with Nicky and Casey.
“We think we have a bike for 2010 with better traction, and that therefore makes it easier for us to find a good setup.”
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