One day after the Desmosedici GP8's official launch on the snowy slopes of Madonna di Campiglio, Ducati Corse CEO and product director of Ducati Motor Holding, Claudio Domenicali, has revealed the technical changes made for the new bike - with which Casey Stoner will aim to defend his MotoGP crown.
But first, Domenicali looked back on 2007, when Ducati won 11 of the 18 races (ten for Stoner, one for Loris Capirossi) en route to a clean sweep of the riders', manufacturers' and teams' world championships.
"The very special feeling created in 2007 between our rider and our bike and tyres resulted in a fantastic season for all of us," said Domenicali, speaking at the 'Wrooom' MotoGP Press Ski Meeting. "I could sum it up by saying that Casey was able to perfectly interpret our GP7, which had been impeccably built and maintained high levels of competitiveness and excellent reliability throughout the season. The Bridgestone tyres also took a step forwards in terms of performance consistency, thanks to our successful joint efforts which had begun in 2005 and allowed us to basically close the gap with Michelin."
"Our 2008 bike is an evolution of the 2007 model, how could we have done otherwise? There was so very little wrong with that bike," stated Domenicali, before analysing the new bike's technical characteristics. "We worked on all areas. In terms of chassis set-up, the new frame is lighter with optimised torsional and flexural rigidity to solve the rather minimal 'chattering' that we experienced on a few occasions last year.
"The rear suspension geometry is also different to reduce the 'pumping' effect observed in certain tracks and in special conditions. As for the engine, we worked on two areas. First of all, performance. We introduced a number of modifications to minimise friction and obtain a small power increase without affecting fuel consumption. Secondly, we worked on rideability, in other words, engine response proportional to the rider's torque requirements. We tackled this aspect to obtain a 'fuller' engine response especially mid-range and maintain peak power for longer.
"Finally, with regards to electronics, we modified a few sensors and actuator details to increase reliability and consequently, safety. One of the main reasons of our presence in racing is to develop technology to be transferred to production bikes, improving safety and making them even more fun to ride.
"Electronics play an important role in all this. An example of this is our new 1098 R, which is equipped with exactly the same traction control system used in Ducati racing bikes," Domenicali revealed, "making it the first bike in the world to feature a system able to combine safety with high performance."
Domenicali concluded his presentation by thanking the team's sponsors for their contribution to the factory's MotoGP success.
"We would like to thank Phillip Morris who made it possible to reach these goals. Without them, all this would have been very hard to achieve. Our contract with them runs until 2011 which gives us the peace of mind needed to continue our work," said Domenicali. "Just today, we've renewed our contract with Shell, a technological partner extremely important to us, given the decisive role played by fuel consumption in our championship regulations."
Domenicali also thanked other Ducati partners, among whom Alice, a long-standing sponsor, San Disk, the contract with whom has been renewed until 2009, and Riello UPS. Finally, he mentioned the newly acquired, important partner Enel, now in a two-year agreement with Ducati.
Italian Marco Melandri will ride along Stoner in 2008.
Wrooom will end on Friday, 11th January.