Ducati has officially unveiled its 2009 GP9 MotoGP race bike, with the most noticeable change being the switch to a carbon fiber frame, which is Ducati’s first departure from its iconic stell-trellis frame. Pictures and Claudio Domenicali’s response after the jump.
Commenting about the new carbon chassis, Ducati CEO, Claudio Domenicali, said:
“Without going into too many details we replaced the traditional frame with a carbon fibre frame, which links the upper part of the motor with the steering column. We wanted to have a better compromise between the weight of the bike and the rigidity of the bike. This was first thought about and then we did a series of tests, first with Vittoriano Gaureschi who is our first judge when we test these solutions.”
With the use of the trellis style frame in all of Ducati’s road bikes, there surely must have been great debate in Bologna about the benefits that a carbon chassis will have in MotoGP and its affect on how the Ducati brand and bikes are percieved at the dealership. Domenicali has hedged his opinion by waiting to see if the proof is in the pudding: “Now we think the new frame will be even better, but only the facts will tell us if this is going to be the best solution or not.”
Developments in the rest of the bike have been minimal, with the horsepower of the GP9 being only modestly better than last year’s GP8. This is because Ducati’s main focus has been on engine development and improved drivability.
“Apart from the tubular steel trellis chassis other things have changed. Among these we have changed the philosophy with how we manage the engine in terms of a new combination of the airbox and calibration of the engine with new mapping. We have tried to make the torque curve as flat as possible and look for better drivability. One of the problems of these bikes has always been how fickle it is to manage the engine.It has a lot of rpm and the capacity to better manage the rpm is better if the torque curve is flat and we have a linear response from the engine. This is why we have focused not so much on improving overall power, which is more or less the same as last year, but we have focused on increasing the drivability of the bike.