21 January, Ducati’s MotoGP season got under yesterday on the Grostè glacier (at an altitude of 2470 metres) as the Desmosedici GP5 appeared in its 2005 livery for the first time amidst the spectacular Dolomite mountains in northern Italy. “The bike that Loris Capirossi and Carlos Checa will race this season is the result of an evolution, not a revolution of the GP4” explained Ducati Corse CEO Claudio Domenicali yesterday during the press conference. "We learnt from the mistakes we made last year, when we arrived at the first Sepang tests with a completely different bike from the previous version and with no chance of turning back.
"The Desmosedici GP5 is the result of the work we did last season when, despite the difficulties, we didn't lose heart and we found the equilibrium we were looking for, as was demonstrated by our improving performance over the last few races and the two podiums at the end of the season. The studies that led to the creation of this bike follow a principle of reversibility, which allows us to retrace our steps at any time and make comparisons with previous solutions".
The bike actually differs very little from the one that was seen in the final GP of the year at Valencia except for the chassis, swing-arm and ECU innovations that will be fitted to the Desmosedici GP5. The chassis is now also attached to the swing-arm pivot, unlike the GP4. This has already been tested at Phillip Island but it will be tested again by Carlos and Loris in Malaysia to see how it works with the new Bridgestone tyres.
Instead it has already been decided to use the new swing-arm in testing and the races. This is lighter than the previous version, albeit somewhat stiffer.
Finally the ECU engine control system is new and gives greater calculation power for more sophisticated race strategies. The ECU has a number of different levels of use, but is in line with the decision to continue development one step at a time, leaving open the possibility of being able to change components at any moment. The software currently being deliberated is not radically different to the one used on the GP4, but more complex, evo-spec versions are also being developed.
Other innovations currently being developed by Ducati are a new 'step' engine, which is already running on the dyno, and which may be used in the second half of the season.
The GP5's aerodynamic package has also undergone modifications: after tests carried out in the wind-tunnel, a new fairing aimed at improving the bike's handling will appear for the first time at the forthcoming IRTA tests at Barcellona (March 18-20).
The Ducati Marlboro Team's pre-season testing schedule is the following:
Sepang (Malaysia): January 23-25 Sepang (Malaysia): February 11-13 Phillip Island (Australia): February 17-19 Losail (Qatar): March 1-3
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