Table of contents:
- Odious comparisons and sales figures
- Ducati and its unique way of understanding racing
- The "Panigale project", Italian pride
- The uniqueness of Borgo Panigale
- Passion for racing taken to its maximum exponent
In competition not everything is the victories. Or yes, it depends how you look at it. Nowadays, thinking about motorcycling racing is thinking about Ducati, a brand that is putting all the meat on the grill to carry out not one, but two projects at the highest level that a brand can aspire to in asphalt racing.
The MotoGP World Championship and the Superbike World Championship they are the breeding ground where the Ducati germ is spreading, putting brands with many more resources on the ropes. The merit of Andrea Dovizioso's two consecutive victories this season is threefold: for the challenge of winning, for doing it against whoever does it and for maintaining at the same time a project in the WSBK that, like that of MotoGP, continues day by day growing and bearing fruit.
Odious comparisons and sales figures
Comparing Ducati's sales figures with the rest of the industry we find an almost testimonial volume
Before talking about racing, let's talk about motorcycle sales, which in the end is what competition projects pay for. With a few 55,451 units sold in 2016 it was the seventh year of continued growth. A clear upward trend driven by German capital and a smart and diversified product strategy that is allowing them to expand the range with products that, in their measure, are all working commercially.
For the Borgo Panigale company, these sales achieved during the last year represented an injection of 51 million euros profit in your bank accounts. Not bad at all, but they are figures that are quite overshadowed if we start to make more or less direct comparisons.
Another well-known European company that is quite successful in the motorcycle business is Bmw. The two-wheeler division of the German automotive giant follows a strategy similar to the one Ducati is employing, albeit with a somewhat different but also premium target audience, putting more than 145,500 units into circulation last year. Almost triple.
If we look much further we find that one of his direct rivals in the MotoGP World Championship, Sling, an almighty brand that Andrea Dovizioso has already overtaken in the general classification, sold a whopping 17.6 million units worldwide in 2016. For its part, the other rival that Ducati is beginning to fear is Yamaha, which sold a total of 5.2 million units in 2015.
With this brief review of the sales figures, it goes without saying anything else.
Ducati and its unique way of understanding racing
At Ducati they don't show up to the races to be mere comparsa. its landing in the MotoGP World Championship in 2003 It was the logical but daring step of a company with a huge legacy in competition with four-stroke engines, so what they basically did was present a project that attached two L-twin-cylinder at 90º of desmodromic distribution to get a four-cylinder L-shaped 90º of 1,000 cc.
With their first appearance at the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix they left the entire paddock's mouths open, putting their Desmosedici in the third drawer of the podium with Loris Capirossi, just behind Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi. Both with the almighty Honda RCV.
MotoGP and WSBK are parallel championships. Ducati reaped its greatest successes with the bikes derived from the series and in 2003 it dared to jump into MotoGP
Their presence in MotoGP is going to turn 15 years in which they have not faltered, on the contrary. Strive for keep moving forward and 2016 with the arrival of a teacher like Gigi Dall'Igna at the technical helm was a new spur for the Borgo Panigale brand. Perhaps, the most visible and remembered by all was its enormous aerodynamic study that led the GP16 to become a motorcycle with multiple aerodynamic appendages.
In 2017, with the aileron ban, the GP17 looks its way. They continue to innovate with aerodynamics, using different chassis and cycle part configurations, strange exhaust systems and a kind of box on the tail that no one knows what it is about yet. The results are coming with DesmoDovi winning races and Lorenzo establishing himself on the Desmosedici.
The "Panigale project", Italian pride
And they are not only focused on MotoGP. Ducati's racing development has never set aside its essence: the Superbike World Championship. With 333 victories after Marco Melandri's last in Misano last Sunday (poker of pride by the way: Italian bike, rider, team and circuit), 14 drivers 'titles and 17 manufacturers' titles, Borgo Panigale's brand and the WSBK are a couple perfect.
The year 2011 seems long ago when Carlos Checa and his Ducati 1098 took the last title for the Italian factory, but they do not give up. Based constancy, work and determination They are ensuring that a motorcycle like the Ducati 1199 Panigale, which since its appearance in the World Championship in 2013 has always had a reputation for being complicated, can be a champion motorcycle.
The Ducati 1199 Panigale R has at least one more season left in competition until the arrival of a revolutionary new V4 model.
The importance of the "Panigale project" is far from being a secondhand for Italians. At the Misano appointment we have seen again how Ducati works very hard to find small technical advantages, such as the tests they carried out with a kind of lenticular rim cover carbon fiber to improve the aerodynamics of your 1199 Panigale R.
This solution that Michele Pirro already tested in the MotoGP tests has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it would improve the aerodynamic efficiency at the rear of the bike, and on the other, it would make it very sensitive to the pressure of the lateral wind and it would lose agility when changing direction. In conclusion: this is a solution that could only be used on very fast and windless circuits.
Utility (or not) is perhaps the least important thing in the whole thing. What is really relevant is to see how a small, modest brand, with a ridiculous volume of business compared to its competitors, maintains two absolutely viable projects in the highest competition.
That in Misano they were present so much Gigi dal'Igna as Andrea Dovizioso in the red and black garage of the Aruba.it Ducati It is not a coincidence. The whole company is committed to both projects and both (MotoGP and Superbikes) take care of each other equally.
The uniqueness of Borgo Panigale
The Ducati case is unique in the world. Looking at the two most relevant motorcycling championships in the world we have to Ducati is here to win races both for prototypes and for motorcycles derived from the series. No other brand has such a solid network in competition today.
Of their rivals in MotoGP, none have a winning project in Superbikes. Yamaha Let's say you're mid-throttle looking for a long-term project with the YZF-R1, while Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia conspicuous by their absence with the testimonial exception of the Italian manufacturer and the RSV-4 of the Milwaukee team.
The Ducati Corse project in competition can bring out the colors of other brands if we look beyond the numbers at the end of the year
Even though it seems like it, Sling it doesn't even have an official presence at the WSBK. The Red Bull Honda WorldSBK team is a private structure, that of Ten Kate, without direct support from the Japanese brand beyond the bikes that arrive unprepared from Japan. Surely this 2017 they will have more support from Red Bull than from the golden wing factory itself.
Otherwise, Kawasaki has a winning team on the Kawasaki Racing Team, a team with the sole purpose of winning in Superbikes after the green firm left the MotoGP boat. BMW and MV Agusta they do what they can.
The Ducati Team in the MotoGP World Championship and the Aruba.it Ducati in the Superbike World Championship are two structures in which many riders would like to military. In addition, in both championships the brand has satellite equipment that not only help them to financially support the project but are also a source of information and a technical laboratory.
Passion for racing taken to its maximum exponent
The beauty of all this is knowing that Ducati's only motivation to keep this dream alive is passion. Passion for competition and passion for beating brands with resources that can seem infinite looking from their small factory in Bologna.
In any case, the fact of having Ducati both as a manufacturer of street motorcycles as a protagonist in the highest competition is all a luck that in many cases is underestimated. In the end it seems that only the times tables or the results at the end of the year count, but that the 1199 Panigale R and the GP17 are winning races is no coincidence; it is almost a heroic feat.
Their Superbike still has at least a year left in competition before his replacement arrives, so the Italians are looking for a way to keep competitive a model that has been on the same base for almost five years and is close to its full potential.
It is expected that for 2019 the next Ducati model will debut in the races, a Superbike that for the first time in the brand abandons the traditional two-cylinder for a tetracylindrical in vee with desmodromic distribution as Claudio Domenicali announced and for which perhaps the Panigale and its lenticular rim are serving as an aerodynamics laboratory.
Can you imagine Ducati doing a double and winning the MotoGP and Superbikes titles in the same year?