Speaking with MotoGP.com, Ducati’s MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti has revealed that the Italian factory is considering making a production racer version of the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 that will be made available to privateer MotoGP teams.
Conceived along the same vein as Honda’s RC213V-based production racer, the Ducati race bike would be available only to privateer teams in MotoGP, and would fall under MotoGP’s new rules, which make distinctions between factory and privateer bikes.
“Since the new rules came out for next year, where it is actually possible for a full MotoGP bike to run in what would have been the CRT class – using the single ECU and single software – we are considering to make available the 2013 bike with this package,” said Ciabatti while talking to MotoGP.com
With MotoGP doing away with the “CRT” distinction, in 2014 the guiding light for determining factory and non-factory machines will be the ECU software. Seeing a spec-ECU introduced into MotoGP starting in 2014, the bargain that Dorna had to strike with the MSMA was that the factory teams could use their own software on the Magneti Marelli ECU’s.
To help close the gap to the factory outfits, privateer teams that are on the Magneti Marelli electronics will also get an additional four liters of fuel (24 liters in total), and will be limited 12 engines, instead of the five engine for factory teams, for the entire season.
With this distinction in mind, Ducati sees an opportunity to offer its current full-fledged MotoGP race bike, the Ducati Desmosedici GP13, to private teams with the spec-ECU and spec-software taking the place of Ducati Corse’s technology.
Since the GP13 has struggled in MotoGP to-date, even in the hands of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, some may question the feasibility of the project, and potential interest from race teams for a production racer variant of the Desmosedici, however the move might be a master-stroke from Ducati.
For the 2013 season, CRT teams have access to an even softer compound of Bridgestone tire than the factory machines, which has helped the production-based machines close the gap to the factory-built equipment.
Ducati personnel have made no secret out of the fact that the CRT tire would help aid them in their front-end troubles, so if the same tire distinctions are held in place for the 2014 season, a production racer Desmosedici could be surprisingly competitive.
It remains to be seen whether Ducati Corse follows through with its production racer plans, and whether any teams will nibble at the chance for an alternative to Honda’s similar project, but with HRC so far ahead of Ducati Corse in developing a production racer, one too has to wonder if there is enough time for Ducati to build and develop production racer variants of its GP13.
However, if the bike is kept very close to spec as the current GP machine, the development time may not take long at all, with the real R&D residing in bringing the electronics up to par. As always, time will tell, but it looks like Ducati will have a go/no-go announcement by the Laguna Seca round.