The Ducati Corse MotoGP effort has been widely hurt due to the lack of development of the prototype. The gravity of the situation worsened when Valentino Rossi could not get even a single win during his two years at Ducati. The last win for Ducati came when Casey Stoner rode for them in his final year at the Italian factory. Now, Ducati will be bringing the GP14.3 for the Sepang test, as against the GP15, as had been widely expected.
In an interview with motogp.com, Ducati Corse boss confirmed that work was still underway on the all-new bike; and that instead, Ducati will be bringing an updated version of last year’s bike, dubbed the GP14.3, to test aspects of the new design not requiring the new engine. The delays have been trailed by both Dall’Igna and Paolo Ciabatti, speaking to the media at the Valencia test and at the Superprestigio dirt track event in December. The GP15 is a completely new bike, designed from the ground up, with a completely redesigned engine. Though expected to retain Ducati’s 90° V4 layout and the now iconic desmodromic valve operation, the engine is likely to be much shorter, with a revised gearbox layout making it much more compact.
Ducati are also believed to be looking at a heavier crankshaft, to help smooth throttle response. Dall’Igna will reveal more details on the design of the bike to the MotoGP website in the interview to be shown as part of the site’s Off Season Show, set to be aired on 19th January. Although the GP15 is expected to look similar to GP14, but, it will be noticeably smaller, while, the exhaust and the tail assembly will be substantially different.
We are expecting that the GP15 will likely be making its debut at the second Sepang test, which starts on 23rd February. If they do not make that date, then the first opportunity for Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone to ride the bike will be at Qatar, on 14th March. Given that factory riders will get their first chance to test the Michelin tires at the second Sepang test, it would suit Ducati to push and have the bike ready by the Second Sepang Test.