After almost 100 days at Ducati, Gigi Dall'Igna speaks about his work.
Moto GP and Superbike projects, both field machines which were projected when Dall'Igna wasn't in the mix, both struggle to reach again on top and is under his command to make these competitive, read this interview with the Italian Ducati Corse manager.
Is there a true option in the OPEN category? Giving up the electronics ' Factory ' in exchange for 24 liters of gas, 12 more engines and special tires?
"For sure we must clear this one up. It's not our top priority. Regulation leaves there for some freedom. The main thing for the Ducati is the ability to change the engine during the year, because for a company that needs to evolve, the engine is one of the most important parts. Realistically it is unlikely that the gap in 2013 is recovered in two months compared to Honda and Yamaha. Ducati's focus is the development of the bike. You cannot win a was by regulations. Winning is bringing down the track a motorcycle superior to the others . "
With the current regulations, 20 liters and frozen engines, the development seems to become problematic.
" It really depends on what kind of changes you want to do and by the timing that you have to introduce them. Not everything depends on the motor. There are changes that are independent of the engine."
Everything, therefore, depends on change of the engine timing?
"Exactly , because of the FACTORY regulations there are only 5 engines allowed which must be identical, even for the camshaft or the crankshaft."
What will be the choice start? 'Open' or 'Factory' ?
"It's like that..if during the year you already used the advantage of the one or the other, there is no turning back"
The choice for one or the other option may result in problems for the Ducati within the MSMA ( the manufacturers association) ?
"Absolutely none. Ducati's presence within the MSMA is out of any discussion. We will decide what path er for us no matter what . Period" .
What is the difference regarding the unique ECU? Is about the hardware to be used or it's just a matter of software?
" The hardware part is abolutely different of course, but the unit is configured at the highest possible level. However, the software is no longer yours, then you can not manage it anymore."
Have you already done comparative tests?
"Not many. The software which Dorna uses is by far less evoluted than the Factory one. However, the electronic it self, has no lacks of functionality.
However, during these months, I haven't focused on this.
"At this moment the priority is to continue the development of the bike and to deliver the best bike possible to our riders.
Yonni Hernandez has carried out two tests at Valencia and Jerez, so, we have some data about it, still i didn't got involved 100% of my energy on this thing."
How will you start then?
"Before the test in Sepang 1 there will be a Sepang 'Zero' from January the 31st to February the 1st, where we will participate with Michele Pirro . This tests are organized by Yamaha which presumably will attempt to do the test with Nakasuka.
Maybe Honda will be there also. Michele will have a GP13 and a new GP14, the same as for the official riders"
It's there also a comparative test with an Open?
"It not is absolutely decided yet. We must first close the performance gap to the first and then to decide how to develop the bike.
We must seek immediately to get closer to the front guys. To see if the GP14 is better than the previous one. We will try to find a base setup for the first races. This is the goal."
At this point, the important decision is whether the 2014 engine is good or not.
"In that case we will look back . Hernandez , however, that is not realistic at Sepang 1 laps with Dovizioso as the Open with the GP14 . All the manufacturers are doing checks on the Open class . He's doing the Honda has built a motorcycle on purpose, and also provides that the Yamaha engines and specifications for the chassis . "
The fans are divided . Is the engine's fault or the frame's fault for the poor performance?
"It's certainly true that once you've designed the engine basically you're done with the frame too. The architecture of the engine is not a choice of the engine builder but of the the engineer that designs the frame.
Ducati knows how to make frames, I touched it with my own hands. Now I'm more optimistic regarding this situation than before I came here to begin this adventure with Ducati.At Ducati I found high-level skilled engineers in all areas .
The first problem I faced was that of the internal organization of Ducati Corse .
It's the department which can make the things go right or wrong and it's the weak point that Ducati had these years. The Corse dpt. and testing dpt. must function hand in hand."
How different is the GP14 from the prototype that preceded it?
"About the GP14 it can not be said to have arisen from my experience. I just found it here already. I tried to change the things that could be significantly decisive from the point of view of performance. This is why Sepang Zero and Sepang 1 are very important for us to understand if we can close the gap or not.
After this, from the first three races we will gather data for building a properly new project."
SO, now you are focusing on the most important problems.
"Let's say I'm an atheist. I'll wait to see and evaluate the tests data and the first races .
By this, if you are asking me which one would be better: a L or a V 90° I won;t be able to give you an answer."
It seems that the test team will have a lot of work to do. What is the situation ?
"From my past experience with the test teams, you can do around of 60/70 % of the work. You can define the bike not fine trim it.
The rest you have to do it with the drivers that will ride the bike in the race.
Forcing the tester to turn with certain structures which are not natural serves only to confusion and not to make progress on the bike.
Pirro is enough as a test rider. Indeed, it forces you to think about the important things first, use your head more than your hands."
Pirro will also test the Superbike ?
"No, the test rider must devote to a single motorcycle and he should ride only that one.
If you are to ride a completely different bike the things will not work right.
Must remain focused on MotoGP.
As for Superbike we use the same resources of 2013. Baiocco in the first place. And then there will be a dedicated test team that will not have the same means and resources as the MotoGP team but it is structured in line with all the needs for the World SBK.
One fact that will change in 2014 is that ther ewill be a much close work between the MotoGP teamn ans the SBK one. I have in mind a way of transferring the technology from MotoGP into SBK and viceversa.
There are also some tests tha tI will decide to have at some oint, first in SBK but which can server well in MotoGP also."
Where do you expect to get faster results ?
"I have to say I was positively surprised by the last SBK testing from the point of view of the results, but also by the rider's comments.
Given the mention that these riders rode valid motorcycles in their recent past and by making positive comments regarding this bike it can only make me confident."
What about Bimota in WSBK ?
"I believe that the FIM should make it run. Will mean one more manufacturer for the World SBK championship. Consideration should be made, especially about the homologation numbers, but think it should be done in the end. And also as a passionate I welcome this new join in SBK."