Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall’Igna is 'really happy' with the work done by his engineers for the 2021 season, finding improvements not only in chassis performance but also the engine.

That's especially difficult given the current freeze on the design of the main engine components.

Nonetheless, "we could find some area of improvement that was permitted from the rules," Dall’Igna confirmed in an interview with the official MotoGP website.

The end result was a new MotoGP all-time top speed record of 362.4km/h (225.2mph) by Johann Zarco during free practice in Qatar, later matched by KTM's Brad Binder in Mugello.

"Like for the start device, I'm strongly convinced that the top speed is really important for the race strategy. It's for sure a lot easier to overtake in the straight than the corners," Dall’Igna said.

As with wings, Dall’Igna and Ducati opened up a new area of MotoGP technical development when rivals spotted a rear-lowering 'start device' that could successfully operate despite the ban on electronic suspension control.

"The start is sometimes the key of the race, because if you start in the front it's a lot easier to make a good strategy," Dall’Igna said. "We worked very hard to find a way to make a good start [system].

"The other problem is the rules say you can only use mechanical and nothing electronic, so at the beginning it was not easy to find a way to do that.

"We began with a simple idea two years ago and every six months we introduced something new in order to improve our systems."

Ducati's initial holeshot system has since evolved into a repeatable ride height device at the rear, plus an additional 'one-off' start device to lower the front.

"It's for sure an advantage otherwise our riders wouldn't use it. There are some tracks where it's really important, others not so much," he added.

Suzuk's Alex Rins recently suggested the lack of a ride-height device was costing them 0.3-0.4s a lap at some tracks.

But if top speed and ride height devices provide Ducati with an advantage, the turning performance of the bike remains a weak point.

"From the chassis point of view, we worked quite well and the result at Jerez was proof of that," said Dall’Igna, referring to a one-two for Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia at the Spanish MotoGP, at the tight and twisty Jerez circuit where Ducati had been without a win since 2006.

"But the bike [still] doesn't turn like we want, so we have to improve again and again - not only from the chassis point of view, but even the engine, if it's possible."

Jerez was one of two Ducati victories so far this season, both by Miller, although it is Johann Zarco (Pramac) and Bagnaia that currently lead the factory's championship challenge in second and third, 34 and 47 points respectively from Yamaha's title leader Fabio Quartararo.

Both Zarco and Bagnaia have brought a 'different' riding style to the Desmosedici. In Bagnaia's case, it's the way he brakes and enters the corners.

"One thing we know is I’m braking harder than the others, I can stop more the bike," said the Italian. "When I enter the corners I’m more in a good direction. I don’t need to let it turn with the rear sliding.

"I think this is the biggest difference between me and the others. I make it turn on braking and they [the others] do it on the exit."

Dall’Igna said: "It's quite clear that [Bagnaia] uses a different riding style in comparison with the others. He was really special because he uses 100% of the front tyre.

"I think a good bike has to give the rider the possibility to use the bike as they want… I think our bike can do this at the moment."

As ever, Dall’Igna was tight-lipped on what the factory might have planned for the future, saying only: "In October we can start to see something on the racetrack" and that in life it's important to "evolve, think different and create something new."

Ducati will be back up to eight machines on next year's MotoGP grid with Pramac continuing alongside the Factory team on the latest Desmosedicis, while VR46 replaces Avintia and Gresini arrives from Aprilia.

The VR46 line-up is yet to be confirmed, or to be precise, the seat alongside Luca Marini. If Valentino Rossi turns down title sponsor Aramco's pursuit, it is tipped to go to Moto2's Marco Bezzecchi.

But until the future of the newly-available Maverick Vinales is officially decided (Aprilia looking the favourite) few would rule out Dall’Igna trying to find a space somewhere for the Spaniard he previously targeted to headline Ducati's Official team.

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