Ducati took the unusual step of launching the new Stradale V4 engine at Misano round yesterday as CEO Claudio Domenicale believes it was the best place to announce a powerplant that would give road riders the chance to get as close as they can to a MotoGP motor.
The presentation on the eve of the Ducati’s home Grand Prix gave the first taste of a new generation of sportsbikes that will see world premiere at the Milan Show when Ducati will launch the complete bike in a private presentation on Sunday November 5.
“It’s not usual that we launch a production engine in a race weekend,” Domenicali told bikesportnews.com. “But this is a very important race weekend for us and the MotoGP paddock is the best place to launch this new engine that for the first time will give our customers the feeling to ride a motorcycle that is very similar to the prototype that Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Michele Pirro ride on the most beautiful circuits around the world. This is the idea behind the V4 engine.”
The Stradale, which is a new 90° V4 engine and includes Desmodromic valve timing, counter-rotating crankshaft and Twin Pulse firing sequence, is the direct heir of the Desmosedici GP that is leading the world championship with Dovizioso.
“We are specialists in the production of two-cylinder motorcycles”, continued Domenicali. “This is why many discussions arose about our decision to build the V4. There are pros and cons. As with everything, we have the best two-cylinder sports motorcycles, there is no doubt. We have a long development history with these bikes and with the Superleggera a unique success story offered, which is really a unique product. We have a lot of power out of this V-twin engine. Riding this motorbike makes for a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.
“If you want to increase performance in the future, if you want to build the best engine concept, then you hit the V-twin’sulimits. That became our problem. If we wanted to improve the V-twin father, we had to reconsider also its allocation in the chassis. On the other hand, we had incredible experiences and successes with Casey Stoner in the MotoGP World Championship in 2003 with Loris Capirossi and in 2007. There are unforgettable memories.
“Loris had a pole position in Barcelona right at the start of the season. We have developed an incredible story, with a Desmosedici V4 engine standing and standing. The result? Bring the MotoGP experience to our customers. The bore is 81 mm – the same as the Desmosedici GP - the stroke 53.5 mm, longer than the Desmosedici GP engine, the displacement 1103 cc.”
When did you start thinking about a V4? “Probably four years ago. Once you launch a new model in the market, it’s time to think what’s next. This is what we did after the launch of the Panigale. When you want to do something different it takes time. We took in consideration different options. The V- twin had some limits, the big advantage of the V4 is a compact engine, so you can keep the bike short with more load on the front.”
At the beginning was the project focused on streetbikes or Superbikes? “Both, we are pushing very hard in the Superbike and the Panigale is very sophisticated, but we saw that we were too much on the limit. The knowledge and the the experiece gained in MotoGP open new windows. We saw that the potential of a 1000cc V4 was much higher. So it would be great to see the advantage of a Desmosedici engine in Superbike.
“Weight was a key factor when we started desigining this engine because is very important for the streetbikes. We have actually different types of V-twin. So if we compare to the Multistrada or the Monster V-twin the Desmosedici Stradale is much lighter. If we compare with the engine of the Supereggera, the new V4 is not lighter.”
And while the new V4 will be delivered in March 2018, the Superbike version with 1000cc as the R-model will come to the market in 2019. "The 1000s will be the basis for our Superbike World Championship," Domenicali said. “The engine is already on the dyno.”
What about the chassis? “The chassis of the Desmosedici Stradale will be more similar to the current Panigale. MotoGP is a place where you need to change things quickly and the development is constant, so it cannot be a reference for a production machine.”
But it won’t be used in other models. “It is a pure sports engine, so there is no point to use it for a Multistrada.”