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Ducati Corse chief discusses GP9

New Desmosedici uses carbon fiber frame

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jan. 14, 2009
Snowfall in the Italian ski resort Madonna di Campiglio forced Ducati Corse to postpone the official unveiling of its new Desmosedici GP9 at the Wroom press event, but CEO Claudio Domenicali did offer a look at the technical updates behind the MotoGP prototype.

The most significant update is the switch to a carbon fiber frame from Ducati’s traditional steel trellis chassis. The new carbon fiber frame brings the upper part of the engine up to the level of the steering column.

“It is a change we have thought about and tested for a long time, firstly with Vittoriano (Guareschi, a Ducati Corse test rider), who is always our first point of reference,” says Domenicali. “He gave his approval to the new system and then the official riders tested it at Barcelona. We won the MotoGP World Championship with the trellis frame so it clearly a very effective design but we have been looking to take another step forward that can help us overcome some of the problems we’ve had, specifically with the MotoGP bike.”

Ducati switched from its traditional steel trellis frame to a carbon fiber frame.
The Desmosedici's exhaust is from Termignoni.
Claudio Domenicali says MotoGP teams should start tightening their grips on expenses.

Other changes include updates to the engine management system with a new airbox and mapping that Domenicali says should provide a flatter power curve.

Also new for Ducati is the 2006 MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden who was introduced to the press at Wroom with Casey Stoner Jan. 13.

“He has been very amenable from the start and he is a rider who perfectly fits in with our motto of never giving up,” Domenicali says about the Owensboro, Ky. native. “We think he’s the ideal team-mate for Casey and I’m sure they can develop a positive team spirit. He has started out with the right attitude because he had a tough first day at Valencia, more difficult than we had imagined, but he ended the December test just a couple of hundredths of a second off the third fastest lap time and that is very satisfying.” .

Domenicali also addressed the effect the global economic crisis will have on MotoGP racing. The financial crisis has already led to Kawasaki’s withdrawal from the series. Domenicali says one of the best ways to cut costs is to make engines last longer.

“We are considering a variety of proposals, together with the other constructors, the organisers and the Federation with this objective in mind: for example modifying the rules on the durability of the engines, which produce one of the biggest costs in MotoGP,” says Domenicali. “The objective of extending engine durability is a matter for 2010 because it involves modifications that include the redesigning of internal components and that takes a certain amount of time. For this season we are looking at taking a step towards it by reducing the length of each practice session.”

The economic crisis will make it difficult for teams to secure sponsorships but Domenicali announced the renewal of sponsorship agreements between Ducati Corse and energy company Enel and uninterruptible power supply manufacturer Riello UPS.

“Of course these are tough times but there are still plenty of ways to make sure that the MotoGP World Championship remains a leading promotional vehicle,” says Domenicali.

Ducati Desmosedici GP9 Technical Specifications
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 90 degree V4 four-stroke, desmodromic DOHC, four valves per cylinder.
Capacity 799cc
Claimed maximum power More than 200hp
Claimed top speed In excess of 192mph
Transmission Six-speed cassette-type gearbox, with alternative gear ratios available. Dry multiplate slipper clutch. Chain final drive
Carburation Indirect Magneti Marelli electronic injection, four throttle bodies with injectors above butterfly valves. Throttles operated by EVO TCF (Throttle Control & Feedback) system
Fuel Shell Racing V-Power
Lubrification Shell Advance Ultra 4
Ignition Magneti Marelli
Exhaust Termignoni
Frame Carbon fibre chassis, pressed aluminium swing-arm
Suspension Öhlins upside-down 42mm front forks and Öhlins rear shock absorber, adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping
Tires Bridgestone 16.5” front and rear
Brakes Brembo, two 320mm carbon front discs with four-piston callipers. Single stainless steel rear disc with two-piston callipers
Claimed dry weight 326 lbs