The Ducati Marlboro Team's 'big bang' twin-pulse engine will make its second grand prix appearance this weekend at Rio, just one week after Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss raced the new powerplant for the first time in last Saturday's Dutch TT.

At the moment Capirossi and Bayliss each have one bike equipped with the new engine - which uses different firing intervals to produce more rider-friendly horsepower for extra corner-exit traction - and one with the original four-pulse power-unit. It will be several races before the riders have two of the new engines each.

"From now on we aim to keep both riders focusing on the twin-pulse, if at all possible," confirmed technical director Corrado Cecchinelli. "That means having enough spare parts and so on and our suppliers are working hard in this period.

"Rio has a very fast straight, but the twin-pulse makes more or less the same power as the four-pulse, so it has more or less the same top speed," he revealed. "And as the corner before the straight is crucial the new engine can have more top speed because it gives riders more confidence coming out of corners."

From the Assen top speed figures it's difficult to determine whether the twin-pulse really does deliver the same speed - traditionally 'big bang' engines have suffered slightly in terms of ultimate horsepower - since the factory riders switched between machines.

However, these were the top speeds of the four Desmosedicis, plus pace setter Max Biaggi:

1. 316.1kph - Max Biaggi Camel Honda (second qualifying).
3. 314.6kph - Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro (second qualifying - GP4 ?).
6. 312.4kph - Neil Hodgson d'Antin Ducati (race - GP3 four-pulse).
7. 312kph - Ruben Xaus d'Antin Ducati (race - GP3 four-pulse).
15. 304.6kph - Troy Bayliss Ducati Marlboro (race - GP4 twin-pulse).

Hodgson and Xaus were riding the GP3 four-pulse in all sessions, while Bayliss and Capirossi both raced the twin-pulse.

However, it is not known what engine Capirossi was using to set the impressive 314.6kph mark in second qualifying ("I did the first few laps with the old engine, then swapped to the new one") or why Bayliss's weekend top speed was so relatively slow. As always with top speed figures, the influence of slipstreaming also needs to be considered.

"(The new engine) is our first real step forward since the season started and I think it's an important step, so now we want to keep moving forward," said Capirossi ahead of this Sunday's race.

Ducati will stay on at Jacarepagua for tests on Monday, while on July 9 Randy Mamola will take part in the opening ceremony of Qatar's new Losail track, venue for October's Qatar GP, on the Desmosedici two-seater.

 

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