If you are a Ducati owner, Valentino Rossi Fan, Italian, or have more than a passing interest in MotoGP, then today is the day you’ve had marked on your 2011 calendar (with perhaps the Valencia test being the date of 2010). Finally released from his contractual obligations with Yamaha, Valentino Rossi can officially begin his duties working for Ducati Corse this week, and Ducati has already capitalized on the moment by showing off Rossi’s new leathers to great fanfare. Now the pièce de résistance and the end to our torment, Ducati has finally debuted the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 at the 2011 Wrooom media event, a joint launch event between Ferrari and Ducati held in the Dolomite Mountains.
The styling straight from the 1980’s comes courtesy of Aldo Drudi (the same man that does Rossi’s helmets), and is “colorful” when said politely, and may be responsible for already causing a seizure when viewed in-person. With 70 engineers toiling away in Ducati Corse’s sequestered part of the Italian factory, the Ducati race team has been hard at work to improve upon the GP10.
Neon paint aside, the most noticeable change is the refined fairings, which are more aerodynamic and have noticeably smaller winglets than last year’s GP10, but the bulk of what sets the GP11 apart from the GP10 lies beneath the fairing, in a motor that has to be announced as either the “Big Bang” or “Screamer”. “The main changes are in the engine, they are internal and external and are designed to achieve a more favourable, flatter torque,” said Team Boss Filippo Preziosi. “The aim of the changed aerodynamics is to reduce friction, therefore improving the maximum speed while reducing the lifting of the front wheel.”
Ducati Corse has also been playing around with a variety of new chassis setups, and have developed a bevy of carbon fiber frames that vary in rigidity and torsion strength. Ideally different frames will suit different tracks, and will allow for more adjustability on the GP11 as it gets developed in the off-season, and during the racing schedule. “With the chassis we have a different rigidity and torsion, and a swingarm with a different stiffness too. We are making a new fork for Sepang, adapted to the suspension for 2011.”
“In terms of electronics we are mainly working on anti-wheelie and traction control. We will be at Jerez from January 17th-19th with Franco Battaini and Vittoriano Guareschi, who will be on track.”
Talking about Rossi’s contributions to the Desmosedici GP11, Preziosi said that “[Rossi] is telling the technicians a lot of very precise information, the most surprising thing is how he is able to put everyone in a very calm mood and ready to work and analyse all the data. This is something very difficult to do when you are under pressure. We are also very happy because Jerry (Burgess) and the other guys have linked very well with our guys. They have great experience and we are trying to add our experience together to make a better bike.”
“I want to thank Yamaha again because they allowed Valentino to test, which was really important for us because we had a lot of priorities to work on. After that we could put them in the right order, so now we are working on the parts that we decided were priorities.”
Technical Specifications of Ducati Desmosedici GP11
Engine : 4-stroke, 90 degree V4, liquid cooled, desmodromic double shaft overhead cam, 4 valves per cylinder.
Displacement : 799cc
Maximum power : Over 200hp
Maximum speed : Over 310 km/h
Transmission : 6-speed extractable Exchange, with alternative gear ratios available. Clutch Dry multiplate slipper clutch. Chain final drive.
Supply : Magneti Marelli indirect electronic injection, four throttle bodies with injectors above butterfly valves.Throttles operated by EVO TCF (Throttle Control & Feedback).
Fuel : Shell V-Power Racing
Lubricant : Shell Advance Ultra 4
Ignition : Magneti Marelli
Exhaust : Termignoni
Final drive : Chain
Chassis : Carbon fiber.
Suspension : Öhlins 48mm upside-down and Öhlins rear shock, adjustable for preload, compression, and rebound damping.
Tires : Bridgestone, Front and Rear 16.5 “
Brakes : Brembo, two 320mm carbon front discs with 4 piston calipers. Single stainless steel rear disc with dual-piston caliper.
Dry Weight : 150kg (330.1 lbs)