Up-Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13

04/25/2013 @ 12:26 pm, by Jensen Beeler40 COMMENTS


It’s hard to get up-close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13. For starters, she’s always traveling somewhere — a slave to her jet-setter lifestyle. And, when she finally touches down long enough for you to get a glimpse of her, she’s surrounded by men in red uniforms, who whisk her out of sight almost immediately.

Occasionally though, she gets all buttoned-up and makes a public appearance, and if you have the right credentials (not an easy feat in its own right), you can elbow your way in for a look at her scarlet glow.

Dodging other bikes, riders, and mechanics in the hot pit lane of the Grand Prix of the Americas, we had such a brief opportunity, and thus bring you our spoils from the moment. We have been up-close with a number of race bikesexotics, and even exotic race bikes, but the Desmosedici GP13 stands out even in that prestigious crowd.

A rolling piece of unobtanium, with the very best of what is available in the two-wheeled world gring its chassis, and yet Ducati’s four MotoGP riders struggle mightily with the machine. Maybe if we look closely enough, we can figure out why. Twenty-two 2000px-wide photos are waiting for you after the jump.











Photos: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • AC

    Not to sound like an ass, but I’ll be more impressed with the Desmo when the bike actually starts posting good results!

  • Unknown

    Awesome high-res pics.

    Winner or not, I just appreciate the craftmanship and engineering that goes into all these bikes.

  • Keet

    Too late AC, you just did! its like saying, “i’m not racist, but…” or “i’m not trying to be a jerk, but…”, it usually means you are. ;)

  • Jaxxx

    Thank you for these! Amazing pics…now if they can just get that POS podium worthy!

  • Ted

    The new nose looks like a voodoo shrunken head

  • John D

    A beautiful machine, but then all of the GP bikes (including CRT’s are). Problem is that a ton of dough is being spent to ride around with those CRT machines. Making small but steady progress is probably the way to go. Patience, however, is not something the fans seem to have much left of at this point. It would certainly be ironic to have Suzuki return and stomp Ducati.

  • L2C

    Whenever I look at the Desmo, the look of the thing always makes me think that something is not quite right with it. To my eyes, it looks misshapen, with with odd forms that seem to exist for no apparent reason, meshed with seemingly apparent odd weight distribution choices. I don’t actually know how weight is distributed on the bike, but it just basically seems too heavy here, too light there, etc. Is it going to tip over or flip over or what? The bike doesn’t seem to be properly balanced. I have yet to see any rider look good on it. Even Stoner seemed to be awkwardly perched atop it, instead of a natural extension of it. The bike stands off on its own and any rider lucky/unlucky enough to ride it just seems to be naturally at odds with it. It’s strange because I don’t notice this effect with any other bike on the MotoGP grid. The effect is so bad, my mind won’t let me clearly imagine Marc Márquez riding it. It just doesn’t work. Nothing natural or sublimely poetic about the pairing, at all. In my mind, that is.

  • L2C

    It’s some kind of ugly beauty.

  • Stanford Crane

    They should keep the plastic and secretly put a customer Honda under it. Sorry Nick, Ben, Dovi and Andre, you are not worthy.

  • orang keren

    when will they make it into production bike?

  • Beautiful bike just goes to show .5 a second is the difference from a winner to 7th. place.. Hopefully the “PROTOTYPE BIKE” has the necessary changes to make the bike a consistant podium contender..

  • MD

    So what is a Manov?

  • jet

    What a massive Gorgeous piece of art,i’m proud to own one,and yes AC your an ass,no dought…Great pics you guys,just some awesome work,THANK YOU …

  • stevenk27

    Awesome pics and a truly beautiful bike.
    Now all it needs is a #1 on the front and a certain Australian prodigy and it will be back on the podium in no time. Audi have the money, lets hope they can lure him back.

  • i hope the gp13 will competitive really soon.

  • pokdoloh

    i think only stoner can bring this bike to the podium…he still young, vigorous, more power than marquez..

    maybe ducati should persuade him to ride this bike again..

  • chris

    gp13 = gp12. hope someone’s there to take 22 hi-res pics of a bike we haven’t seen from ducati. pirro’s bike at jerez.

  • Aestheticist

    AC is right. This is a RACING motorcycle, not a showbike. Its purpose is singular..to win races not to be some artistic object.

    It has been an utter & complete failure ruining the careers of, I believe 24(?) riders at last count. To mitigate this failure by praising its beauty shows a fundamental misunderstanding of racing motorcycles.

    Perhaps they should enter it in the next Rat’s Hole show..or ask Paul Jr. for a consult…sheesh

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    The bike is beautiful. Is there anything in the works to make it competitive?

    If I understand correctly, the bike is flawed because there’s too little front end feel upon corner entry, riders can’t find the limit and upon corner exit it spins the rear tire and either sends the rider on too wide a trajectory or requires the rider to slow down in order to kill excessive wheel spin.

    …pretty certain nobody here can find the solution, but that nobody at Ducati has a clue is really troubling to me.

  • Westward

    I would be surprised if Suzuki had a machine that was competitive at all. But, I would definitely welcome it. Crutchlow and Depuniet would be my top choices to pilot them if and when they do return….

    As a Ducatisti, I still have confidence that the D16 will get evolve to be a threat in the near future…

    The bike is still amazing …

  • @Keet – I wouldn’t go that far. It’s true. He didn’t say he was not impressed. You’d be more impressed with these pics if the bike was winning

  • Mitch

    Is the frame still from FTR or by Ducati themselves at this point? Is there any potential in going back to a a trellis frame or is that crazy?

  • jzj

    Here’s just a thinking-out-loud question after some basic premises:
    1. Everyone is using the same tires;
    2. Let’s assume that the Ducati can make adequate power compared to Honda and Yamaha;
    3. Let’s assume that the Ducati has the same quality brake pieces as Honda and Yamaha;
    3. Let’s assume that the Ducati has the same quality suspension pieces as Honda and Yamaha;
    4. Let’s assume that there is no inherent reason Ducati can’t fool around with all sorts of different head angles and swing arm lengths and weight distribution and rider positioning and whatever else;
    5. Let’s assume that different riders have tried various different riding styles to get around the tracks.

    What other variables exist, other than chassis rigidity, traction electronics, and (to a lesser degree) aerodynamics?

  • Jack

    @jzj – when dealing with the forces of 200+ mph & 60-degree leaning angles, chassis rigidity & electronics are huge realms on their own. Most importantly, you don’t just develop these massively complicated separate realms in silos. Frequenly, The whole deal is affected as each is changed.

  • R1rider

    Is that mclaren box on the fork leg a gyroscope or accelerometer?

  • SBPilot

    @R1Rider – Yes, Mclaren supplies teams with electronics in many race series. In fact, they even supply NASCAR with their spec ECU.

  • meatspin

    JB, did you take these pics? You did a good job. I like how big and in your face they are. That way I can study all the gory details.

  • meatspin, yeah they’re my work. Dorna is really crackin’ down on web-access to MotoGP, but I’ve managed to get an orange pass (pit lane & track access) for the races this season.

  • smoke

    From a cycleworld list of quotes:

    Bernhard Gobmeier, general manager, Ducati Corse: “The information that I have gotten from Bridgestone is that they don’t change anything. That means we have to adapt the bike to this specific tire configuration, which is very hard. Normally, the issues that we have, Bridgestone could solve within two weeks—easily, with no problem. But they won’t change anything. We are spending one hundred times the money, one thousand times the money, in order to fix what they could fix at no cost in two weeks.”


    The Attack bike looks sexy!

  • LoneStarBR

    I was lucky enough to see it up close in Austin. Watched them all weekend, saw the speed trap and lap times posted in the paddock. It remains the most bizarre thing to me that Ducati cannot fix this – everyone has the same tire issue? I am also a bit shocked that Dovi is faster than Nicky. When Stoner rode the bike – he was off of it a lot, Nicky is very still on the bike – almost no body movement – I don’t think that works. The pictures in this article show the workmanship of this beauty. The is a looker but sadly, all show and no go. I still love my MultiStrada!!!
    Nice article.

  • 2ndclass


    On the Eurosport commentary, Neil Spalding made a comment related to Dovi having a (relatively) better time than Nicky on the Desmo. Apparently Dovi’s preferred seating position on the bike, which IIRC he said was to sit noticeably towards the back of a bike (something he’s done most of his career), is, according to Spalding, helping to somewhat combat the Desmo’s natural weight distribution issues. Just goes to show how such a little thing can have a big difference when you’re dealing tenths and hundredths of a second in top level motorsport.

  • Bike doesn’t lack power strongest motor in GP.. It does suffer from aggressive power delivery and handling issues when the bike is on it’s side.. Pirro’s lab bike looks real interesting looks shorter and the mufler “Rossi ” requested is finally gone!

  • A collection of very expensive parts, that don’t really work all that well. This bike would be competitive… 3 to 5 years ago. I remember when Ducati was on the right track in Moto GP some years back, and then they started screwing around with their swingarm design, and it seemed to go south very quickly after that.

    Oh and fuck Bridgestone tires, there’s a company I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them. Battleax have been garbage forever, cool name crap rubber. They would get it right once in a great while, and then go back to being crap street and track tires. It seems their Moto GP bid is an effort to resurrect the Battleax name, good luck with that. I wonder how much quicker every bike on the track would be if they were on good Dunlops. When suspension tuners have to make changes to accommodate the narrow performance envelope of the tires, that says everything. There doesn’t even seem to be a difference between the soft and hard compounds, particularly in the early part of a race when the bikes are heavier, that’s not right. Softer tires should have more grip, so why don’t these Bridgestones, because they suck.

    I used to put Bridgestone on my cars, but that was back in the 80s, then they absorbed Firestone and the tires turned to crap, I certainly wouldn’t buy them today.

    Every Bridgestone Battleax tire that came as original equipment on bikes I bought was scary, in the dry they were squirrely as hell, in the wet they were dangerous. Not something you would ever want to stake your life on, and every time you get on a motorcycle you are staking your life on the tires. Moto GP is certainly a different world than DOT approved tires, but the principle is the same, tires either inspire confidence, or they don’t. Every Bridgestone tire I’ve ever tried made me nervous and hesitant, and that’s how Nicky Hayden looks these days, like he doesn’t believe in the bike or the tires.

    We all know Hayden can ride and win, at least on tracks he’s real familiar with, at least when he was riding a Honda, so it’s definitely the bike that is the problem. Maybe the Audi people will make the necessary changes needed to get that bike working, perhaps starting with an engine redesign, but if the Lamborghini people are calling the shots I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • Here’s Some quotes from the Cycle World list of quotes that Smoke posted a link to;

    [Blake Young, two-time AMA SuperBike runner-up, Attack Performance Racing: “One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn riding this bike is the Bridgestone tires. They are so different than anything I’ve ever used before. You can’t really mess around with them. If you stay after them, it’ll keep the heat in them. If you lose it, you can’t get it back.”]

    Pretty much says it all, nothing worse than having lousy tires on a great bike. They are your direct connection with the road, if they don’t work properly – provide the necessary compliance, predictability and feedback – the bike doesn’t work either.

    [Marc Marquez, 125cc and Moto2 world champion, Repsol Honda Team: “In the race, I had some front problems that I didn’t have earlier in the weekend. Every lap was worse. Many times, I was close to a crash, especially on the right side. It was a little bit scary.”]

    The issue Marquez was having is certainly a tire issue as well, no wonder he went down during practice.


  • Erik

    I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, MotoGP needs a tire war. Bring a European tire manufacturer back into the sport and you would see Ducati make a leap forward. The bike has flaws, certainly, but does anyone really believe Honda and Yamaha are not going to get preferential treatment from the BS R&D department? Having a single tire manufacturer saves nothing, the money is just being spent elsewhere. True prototypes should exist as uniquely developed machines from the ground up. Right now, anyone not riding Japanese machinery has to build around a tire being tweaked and developed for the Japanese factory teams. I still believe Ducati’s engineers paired with Audi’s management and finances should and will find a way…just one more obstacle to overcome.

  • Erik

    p.s. Gorgeous pics, thanks for taking the opportunity and for sharing! There are still some Ducatisti that love the GP team! :-)

  • Westward

    “We all know Hayden can ride and win, at least on tracks he’s real familiar with, at least when he was riding a Honda, so it’s definitely the bike that is the problem” — Aaron B Brown.

    Really? All Hayden’s years at Honda, he managed 3 wins. Since then, the only pilots on a Honda factory bike win less is Dovi and Marquez, and Marquez just notched his first on his second outing…

    I agree with Erik, when Bridgestone primarily made tyres for Ducati, Capirossi and Stoner won races. Even the Pramac bikes made the Rostrum. Once they started to cater to the Japanese bikes, the Ducati struggled more and more…

    Bridgestone should be able to make tyres suited for Ducati as well as the Japanese Bikes. Or let Michelin, Perelli, or Dunlops play too…

  • MCRyerson

    How long have y’all been following MotoGP? You do know that Bridgestone got the job for supplying rubber after it wiped the floor with Michelin as well as Dunlop who to be honest, were completely out of their depth in MotoGP.

    The new boss of Ducati’s comments sounds like desperation. It’s a sole supply deal, like so many other racing series so how can he expect special tyres?

    All of you quoting that piece from CW should also quote KC’s comments about how good Bridgestone race tyres are, if anyone should know it should be old Kevin.

    There is no other company better suited to supply tires for MotoGP, Michelin couldn’t compete with Bridgestone, Dunlop certainly couldnt and also had problems with tire wear at Austin and Pirelli? Look at how many races they had to shorten recently because their hoops wouldn’t last.

    Talk about uninformed opinion!

  • MCRyerson

    I’m just about to head to the airport and before I do I just wanted to reply to people talking about Bridgestones favourin some teams over others.

    I had the privilege of doing a paddock tour at Indy a few years back, right in the middle of all the success Ducati was having. I talked to a guy at Kawasaki about the tire situation and he said they were very happy with the Japanese and you knew exactly where you stood with Bridgestone, which was different to the Europeans. With the other tire companies, no one knew which riders was running what, it was all secretive but with Bridgestone, everything was open. They treated it like any other business deal and this is probably another reason why they got the job. How many stories did you hear about Michelin giving a rider a special tire and refusin to give it to other guys – thats favourtism amigos!

    Also, I’ve run Bridgestones from time to time on my track and road bikes and they’ve always been good. In fact all tires made in the last 5 years are good, with some cheap expections. People saying ‘Tyre brand X’ is dangerous should be ignored, they are obvious trolls.

    I also ran Bridgestone RE71’s on my 911 back in the day (before the ball and chain took my $$$) and I’ve yet to find a better sportscar tire yet. And that was way before Bridgestone got into Formule 1.

  • Westward

    I ride with Bridgestone BT – 16, 20, 21, or 23’s on my Ducati depending on which has a better sale price and suits my mood at the time of purchase.

    As for Bridgestones dominance in MotoGP starting in 2007, this is true. But I hardly think other manufacturers are just lying down and going to close shop because Bridgestone rules MotoGP. We don’t know what others could produce, because of the single tyre rule. Seven year old data is hardly reliable, as to the possibilities of today…