Could 2015 be Ducati's final roll of the dice in MotoGP? The company that's endured relentless failure since Casey Stoner walked out half a decade ago has an all-new MotoGP bike ready for the coming season.
The Ducati Desmosedici GP15 will make its debut during preseason tests in Malaysia this month. If the Desmosedici GP15 fails, Ducati owners Audi might decide to pull the plug. The Desmosedici GP15 follows miserable failures at the hands of a number of different riders and engineers. But last year the motorcycle did improve thanks to the arrival of Aprillia RSV4 Gigi Dall'Igna.
But there was one thing Dall'Igna couldn't fix last season. 'Our big problem is understeer, so we need different geometry and we can't do that with the existing engine,' he said. 'The new Ducati GP engine will be smaller because for a chassis designer it's really important to have the engine as small as possible.' Dall'Igna was told he could do whatever he wanted to make Ducati win again, even if that meant parting from the 90-degree vee configuration – the company's trademark since the 70s. 'Ducati has to win, that's all' he adds. 'And we have to do everything to reach this target. I did try reducing the vee angle but the advantage in terms of dimensions wasn't so big and because of the problem of engine balance I finally stayed with 90-degrees.'
So, there you have it, the Desmosedici GP15 will use a 90-degree vee, which just happens to be the same angle as Honda's dominant RC213V MotoGP bike.