Ducati

WSBK – Davies does the double at Imola

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After winning Race 1 in a dominant fashion, Chaz Davies did the double at Imola (Italy), giving the factory Ducati squad its fourth WSBK success in a row at its home race.

The Welshman, who took pole position on Saturday, had to work his way up the field from ninth position today, based on the new 2017 grid regulations for Race 2, and got off the blocks quickly at the re-start – the red flags interrupted the race after only two laps.

Davies then progressively climbed his way up the ranks, closing the gap from provisional leader Sykes on the Kawasaki ZX-10R.

The Welshman then took the lead on lap 8, and eventually pulled away to win with a four-second advantage on his rivals.

Davies said: “What a weekend! For the first time this year I feel we’ve been the benchmark from the beginning. We were able to find our rhythm on Friday, and it sort of snowballed from there.

“The team has done an awesome job, the bike worked superbly in both races, in different conditions, but today it was quite interesting. We got mixed up at the first start, but after the re-start we got a good launch and I was able to make some good moves that put us in a good position. Sykes’ pace was strong, so I had to put my head down to hunt him and, once I caught him, I was able to set my own pace and that was good enough. Thanks to all the Italian fans for showing up this weekend, their push was something special.”

Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director, said: “Once again, Imola coincided with a really emotional weekend. Chaz rode two flawless races, and we dedicate the wins to all the Ducatisti who flooded the circuit and showed their passion, and also to all the boys at home who allowed Chaz and the team to finalise the job. To win at Imola is incredible.”

WSBK – Ducati dominates Race One at Imola

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The factory Ducati team enjoyed a day to remember in front of its fans at Imola as Chaz Davies once again proved to be the man to beat at the Italian track.

The Welshman, who secured pole position in the morning while showing an unmatched pace, never looked back after the start and finished with a seven-second advantage over his rivals when, with six laps to go, the race was red-flagged after Eugene Laverty’s big crash.

The race was declared, and with the results based on the positions from the previous lap, Ducati had two riders on the podium with team-mate Melandri enjoying his first WSBK podium at Imola .

Race winner Chaz Davies said: “It’s been a perfect weekend so far. I think this track really suits me and the Panigale R. We’ve made good steps forward under acceleration this year, and it was a big help here with the tight chicanes. Also, this layout helps me to take advantage of the strong points of my riding style. I kept controlling the gap from Rea, looking after the tyres, and the bike felt really consistent. It was a lonely race, but not an easy one.

“Tomorrow’s going to be different, starting from the back. We need to keep it clean and be patient. We can still improve something on the electronics side, but clearly we won’t make any big changes. Thanks to all the ducatisti for their amazing support today!”

Team-mate Marco Melandri said: “To step on the podium in front of the home crowd is amazing, but it wasn’t easy out there today. From this morning, we had some issues. I still didn’t feel at 100 percent under braking, and under acceleration I had to shut the throttle often while upshifting, without being able to fully take advantage of our power.

“Nonetheless, Chaz was really fast, especially in the third sector, and while trying not to lose contact with him I made some mistakes. After a few laps, with less fuel in the tank and a lighter bike, we improved. I was ready to fight against Sykes and in general I expected to battle against the two Kawasakis, but we didn’t take advantage of our full potential and I want to do better tomorrow.”

WSBK – Rea wins Race One at Assen

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Jonathan Rea claimed the Race One win after a day of controversy at Assen.

The Ulsterman was caught up in a war of words with Ducati’s Chaz Davies in Parc Ferme, with the title rivals exchanging candid views about a coming together in qualifying – the Kawasaki rider was convinced he had left Davies enough room; Davies adamant that Rea had ruined his hot lap. Race Control sided with the Welshman, judging Rea had impeded the progress of a rival while he had been setting a fast lap, and thus imposed a penalty demoting him to fourth.

Tensions were still simmering on the grid for the start, with Davies still seething about Rea’s ‘lack of sportingness’.

As the lights dropped, Davies, Sykes and Rea made strong starts, with Davies doing most of the early front-running.

The pace was fast and Rea set a new lap record, over a second faster then the previous one, on lap three, with a 1’34.880 as he caught Davies, shadowing the Ducati rider for lap after lap.

Rea eventually pounced, only to be re-passed, and after a close battle, managed to edge back into front with two laps to go. However, the drama was not over as Davies was forced to stop trackside on Lap 20 with an electrical issue.

Rea crossed the line to take the win, his tenth at the Dutch track, with team-mate Tom Sykes claiming second and Ducati’s Marco Melandri taking over third spot.

Rea said: “That one was really nice because the more wins you get on a certain track the more pressure you feel to repeat it. I am not sure why I click so well with Assen but it seems to be working. It seems like our bike was working very well in the faster sections of the track, and Chaz was fast out of T5 in acceleration. I could maintain the lap time as we were to-ing and fro-ing at certain parts of the track, but I was strong in the back section, where it counts for passes. I had good pace at the end and I wanted to go through then and make a gap. But every time I put my nose in front there was a big block pass into the last corner. It was, honestly, very unfortunate for Chaz at the end and it is never a good way to lose points. But it was important for me that that bad luck happened to him when he was behind me because at that point of the race I was trying to make my rhythm and go away.”

WSBK – resurgent Davies takes Race Two win at Aragon

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The Ducati team took its first win of the season in Race 2 at Aragon thanks to a brilliant performance by Chaz Davies.

The Welshman bounced back from a nasty crash in Race One to claim his sixth victory at the Spanish track and 21st of his career.

Starting in tenth position, Davies quickly stormed through the field, already joining the leading group on the third lap. Davies and teammate Marco Melandri then stalked race leader Johnny Rea until lap 12, when Davies pounced to take the lead.

As in Race One, the final laps resulted in a spectacular series of passes between the leading protagonists, with Melandri climbing to second position before eventually falling away. Davies on the other hand continued to dice with Rea several times before making the decisive move at the last chicane to take the win.

Chaz Davies said: “The whole weekend has been difficult, from start to finish, so it was really important to cap it with a win, especially after yesterday’s disappointment. We were confident our bike would be fast at Aragon, but it wasn’t easy at all out there today and our main rivals seem relatively comfortable so we know there’s still work to do in many areas.

“Today we suffered a bit with grip early on. Also, the wind was really strong. It kept pushing me away from corners and in the last lap I got caught by a gust going into turn 5 and I missed a backshift, going a bit wide, but we still managed to finish in front. We’re competitive but it’s still not enough, so we need to keep working to improve.”

MotoGP – Viñales shines, Lorenzo crumbles in season opener at Qatar

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Rain, delays and uncertainty all combined to create a spectacle at the opening race of the season, one which is easy to criticse but difficult to manage – unless you’re, Maverick Viñales, who kept his cool to deliver a riding masterclass on his competitive debut on the Factory Yamaha.

A stunning start from Ducati’s Andrea Iannone from P2 was soon overshadowed as rookie Johann Zarco slammed his Tech 3 Yamaha into the lead in the first laps, getting away and making a gap as Viñales found himself falling back into the clutches of teammate Valentino Rossi.

The Tech 3 rider looked comfortable at the front, pulling out a gap before sliding out of the lead soon after – leaving ‘DesmoDovi’ out front.

With the number 4 Ducati getting away in the lead, Iannone then crashed out of the fight for second – leaving reigning Champion Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda, Viñales and Rossi chasing the leading Desmosedici. After a dramatic scuffle between the #46 and 93, the ‘Doctor’ set off in pursuit of his teammate.

And then there were three: Viñales, Dovizioso, and Rossi.

It wasn’t long, however, before there was some fresh air between the leading two and The Doctor, a battle which saw Viñales’ corner speed pitched against the sheer might of the Ducati. After trading places for a few laps and the race impossible to call, the Spaniard was then able to hold off the Italian on the penultimate lap – and made it to the line to take his second MotoGP win; his first in Yamaha colours.

Viñales said: “I feel incredible and it shows in the results. We did a great job during the whole weekend and we started good in the test, then in FP1 we were already feeling really good.

“The race was difficult, it started to rain and there was a bit of confusion because we didn’t know what to do. The first laps were very challenging, the track was so slippery and I wanted to take it easy and stay calm. I knew I had a good pace, so I tried to push at the very end of the race.

“There were many crashes at the front, so I waited for the right moment and finally we took the victory. The feeling when I crossed the line was incredible. As the first victory with Yamaha, it was even more important than the first MotoGP victory, because there was so much pressure. We were leading all the test, “You can do it”, and finally we did, so I’m happy how I handled the pressure and also that the team worked really good. The electronics were ready and the grip of the tyres was really good on the last laps. The third sector was honestly so crucial, because Andrea [Dovizioso] used the soft tyres, so he collected the benefits and could accelerate better all the time and he didn’t waste the tyre, so it was hard to beat him, but in sector three I was really strong the whole weekend.

“I set my best sector three on the last lap and it was the minimum to take the victory, it’s really great, I’m so happy. I hope for a perfect start in Argentina. The start here was good, but I just went outside of the line and when Zarco came he crashed into me, so I had to pick up the bike and then Marquez and Dovi passed me so it was a bit chaotic on the early laps, but then I was able to concentrate. We have to continue like that and maintain this concentration.”

Reigning champion Marquez crossed the line fourth, just ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa by the flag – who took fifth after getting the better of Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia; Espargaro’s result was a historic first top six for Aprilia in the stunning first ride in Noale colours for the rider from Granollers.

Impressive performances from Scott Redding on the Pramac Ducati and Jack Miller on the Marc VDS Honda saw the two men come home in P7 and P8, with Suzuki’s Alex Rins top rookie in P9 – just ahead of YamahaTech 3 rider Jonas Folger, who completed the top ten.

It was a difficult ride for Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo, with the wet conditions once again messing with the Spaniard’s head. He went wide on the first lap after a solid start, down to near the back of the grid after carefully rejoining and then beginning a steady fight back through the field. Up into tenth with 12 laps to go, the ‘Spartan’ crossed the line in P11 by the end of play – a disappointing end to his debut. And one which must have Ducati wondering whether the money they’ve spent enticing Lorenzo into the red corner would have been better spent coaxing their test rider into coming out of retirement; Stoner would definitely not have folded in such a spectacular fashion.

 

MotoGP – Ducati unveils new aero package

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Ducati has debuted its new-look aero fairing during the second day of MotoGP testing at Losail.

Both Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso have tested the design, finishing eighth and 13th quickest.

Similar in appearance to a whale shark, the new fairing is Ducati’s attempt to replicate its wing aero package in a design which complies with the new regulations.

Speaking after the second day of testing, Dovizioso said. “In the evening I did a couple of exits with the new fairing, and in my opinion our engineers have done a great job because it wasn’t easy to create a certain aerodynamic downforce without using the winglets.

“Now we are weighing up the pros and cons of the design before we take a decision and also work out the tracks where this solution can give the biggest advantages.”

New metal – Ducati 1299 Superleggera breaks cover

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Meet the Ducati 1299 Superleggera, the latest word in desirable, two-wheeled exotica.

The bike is a limited edition version of Ducati’s superbike, and its engineers have gone to town breathing their magic on the bike – this is the lightest and most powerful, street-legal machine that the Borgo Panigale factory can produce.

The quest for lightness has been relentless and this bike uses a carbon fibre chassis (frame, swingarm, wheels, and bodywork) to make it as lights as possible – it weighs just 162kg wet.

Then there’s the Akrapovic race exhaust, which mirrors the system used on Chaz Davies’ WSBK winning bike.

In race trim the bike makes 220bhp, and this has been achieved through titanium valves, a crankshaft with tungsten inserts, and lighter con-rods.

Suspension is handled by Öhlins, with fully adjustable FL963 forks and TTX36 rear shock. Meanwhile, braking is handled by M50 Brembo calipers up front, mated to 330mm discs.

The electronics on the Ducati 1299 Superleggera have been upgraded as well, with an inertial measurement unit (IMU), being fitted to the superbike. The IMU not only powers the Superleggera’s anti-lock brakes, which have a special algorithm to work on the race track, but it also powers electronics that affect the rear wheel. This means that the Ducati 1299 Superleggera effectively has slide and spin control, which can be set independently of each other, in the traction control package. This upgrade comes courtesy of Ducati’s MotoGP and World Superbike racing efforts, and is a derivative of what Ducati Corse uses in those series.

Ducati Launch control (previously seen on the Ducati XDiavel) has also been added to the 1299 Superleggera, enabling flawless starts from a standstill.

The 1299 Superleggera costs £72,000 and only 500 units will be produced worldwide.

MotoGP – Dovizioso pilots Ducati to victory at Sepang

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Andrea Dovizioso shone in the wet conditions at the Sepang International Circuit, claiming his first victory for Ducati and becoming the ninth winner in a dramatic MotoGP season.

The Ducati Team rider crossed the finish-line ahead of Rossi and Lorenzo at the end of 29 rain-soaked laps, and looked smooth and consistent from the off.

Powering away from pole, Dovizioso was third at the end of Lap One behind Rossi and Andrea Iannone, who then put on a terrific scrap for first. On Lap 12 Dovizioso passed team-mate Iannone and set off after Rossi, whom he passed on Lap 15, and from then on he pulled out a small lead over the Yamaha rider to take the flag with a margin of more than three seconds.

Speaking after the race the Italian said: “It was very important for me to win a race this year: I’ve been trying for so long and I’ve come close on several occasions, so satisfaction for today’s result is truly immense.

“I really powered to the win, because in the first half of the race I could not push too hard, but I didn’t give up, I didn’t make any mistakes and at the right time I passed both Iannone and Rossi and set my own pace.

“I am very happy about the improvements we have made this year, both in the bike and with my team, but also on a personal level. I am working hard also for next year and this win, which has come at the end of the season, is just reward for all the efforts.”

The Italian had not won a race in MotoGP since the British Grand Prix at Donington in 2009 and thanks to this result he moves up into fifth place in the table with 162 points.

 

 

 

New metal – Ducati Project 1408

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Ducati has released a micro website for Project 1408, the name of its secret new super superbike.

While the site itself has no information as such – it doesn’t even tease what Project 1408 could be – insiders within the factory have hinted that the bike will be a new Superleggera model, based on the Ducati 1299, which makes extensive use of the company’s MotoGP and WSBK involvement.

The bike will be far more than just a 1199 Superleggera with a new 1299 engine, and will feature carbon fibre throughout – for the frameless chassis, headstock, airbox and swingarm.

The wheels will also be carbon fibre, and will be manufactured by British company BST. Other trinkets include Öhlins suspension and a WSBK spec exhaust which ditches the underslung unit in favour of an underseat system.

rather than underslung below the chassis.

The motor too will be close to WSBK-spec, and should be good for some  220hp, which means Project 1408 will be the most powerful superbike ever from the Italian factory.x

This bike will be the final version of the Panigale line, with a replacement superbike, likely to be a V4, expected to be launched in 2018.

 

WSBK – dominant Davies shine in Race 2 at Magny-Cours

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Ducati’s Chaz Davies shone again at Race 2 at Magny-Cours, dominating the race to claim his second win of the weekend.

The race started with polesitter Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) getting off the line well, but he was quickly overtaken first by his teammate Tom Sykes and then by Davies.

The fourth lap saw Sykes attempting to pull the pin and run away at the front, and he succeeded building up a gap of about a second on Davies and Rea, but then in the fifth lap, Rea overtook Davies to move into second place.

By mid-race point the battle between the two Kawasaki riders for the top step of the podium began to heat up, and Rea and Sykes were within less than three tenths of one another, with Davies a second and a half behind.

Everything changed in the eighteenth lap, when Davies took advantage of the battle between the two Kawasaki riders, overtaking them both to move into the lead, with  Sykes retaining second place and Rea temporarily relegated to third.

In the next lap, the Northern Irishman managed to get the upper hand on his teammate, moving into second, and this would also be the finishing order – three British riders on the podium and the third double win of the season for Davies, while Rea saw his advantage in the overall standings grow to 48 points ahead of teammate Sykes.

Davies said: “It wasn’t easy at all today. I took the opportunity when it came, but honestly I didn’t think it was going to happen. I was struggling early on, doing the same pace as on Friday in the mid 1’38 mark. I was also finding it hard to pass the Kawasakis, as I couldn’t see where to do it unless I took a big risk, so I had to let the race come to me a little bit.

“It did eventually, and as Jonathan and Tom pushed each other wide at the hairpin, I just took the opportunity and dropped the hammer to put some distance in between myself and them. It’s been one of the most important weekends of my career, because we won in very different conditions, reaping the fruits of a lot of hard work with the whole team.”