Rossi Tests Ducati GP12 at Mugello

rossi_testing_at_mugelloValentino Rossi got the chance today to climb back aboard Ducati’s 2012 prototype at the Mugello circuit. Rossi did 36 laps aboard the GP12 on the final day of testing for the Ducati team.

This is the second time that Valentino Rossi has tested the GP12. The first time Rossi hopped on the GP12 was at Jerez in early April. (You can see the video of that test here.)

“I’m pleased, because it was a positive test,” said Rossi. “We took full advantage of the time we had, because the track and weather conditions were perfect.”

The Mugello track was recently repaved, which gave Rossi a chance to test the new track before the MotoGP heads to the Italian circuit next month. Mugello is also the circuit where Rossi broke his leg last year.

“I liked the new asphalt a lot,” Rossi said. “The surface is smooth, those holes that I knew so well are now gone, and the grip is fantastic. I must say they’ve done a great job, because if it’s possible, riding here at Mugello is now even better than before.

“I’m happy to have come back here to test after my injury last year, because it was a nice feeling and a good day. We started around 11:00 this morning, and we completed sixty laps in all…

“We tested everything that (technical director Filippo Preziosi) had planned to try, and we’re satisfied because, although we’re still at a pretty early stage, we’re going in the right direction.”

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Ducati Diavel Commercial Hits the US [Video]

ducati_diavel_commercialThe Ducati Diavel doesn’t need a nifty slogan to make me want one, but Ducati came up with something pretty cool for its US Commercial. “Seen? Maybe. Noticed? Definitely?

Ducati said that the aim of the Diavel commercial was to “communicate the idea of authentic sensations expressed by real-life faces in everyday situations.”

Here is the new Ducati Diavel TV commercial.

The commercial was shot in Cape Town, South Africa, by American director Bo Platt.

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Euro Cruisers – Not a Pretty Sight!

DucatiIndianaMotorcycle designers from across the big pond have sculpted some of the most beautiful motorcycles in the world – with one glaring exception. European manufacturers consistently miss the boat when delving into the cruiser niche. Most Euro-cruisers are just plain…well, ugly!

There is little doubt why the European manufacturers occasionally dabble in the cruiser genre. They eye the market share enjoyed by Harley-Davidson with more than a little envy. While the Japanese have had some limited success in the imitation, it just seems that European flair does not translate well to the very American phenomenon of the cruiser.

Let’s take a look at some of the most glaring examples of these European eye-sores.

The Ducati Indiana

We are going back in time here (like 30 years), but no discussion on the ugly Euro-cruiser would be complete without a look at this Italian monstrosity. Even the attempt to appeal to middle-America with its name is sadly forced. It had a cool, desmodromic L-twin engine; but that 650cc motor could not save the terminally ugly bike. It’s so bad I had to make it the lead photo in this piece.

The Moto Guzzi California

GuzziDo you see the trend here? Another Italian offering employed an Americanized name – the California. It is not as obvious what is wrong with the looks of the California. Maybe it’s the overly rounded motif, or maybe it’s the fact that the otherwise cool Guzzi power-plant looks fatally out of place in the cruiser attempt.

The BMW R1200C

bmwIt is much clearer what doesn’t work in the styling of the R1200C. Even a high-profile appearance in a James Bond movie, couldn’t override the ugly that envelops this German cruiser offering. The bike is an uncomfortable mix of German engineering and pseudo-American cruiserdom.

TriumphSo the question remains: Has any European manufacturer gotten the cruiser right? Yes.

Triumph has developed arguably the coolest non-American cruiser in the world. The Triumph Rocket has taken Euro-cruiser styling (not to mention performance) to a new level. Maybe there is a hope for the European cruiser market after all.

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Ducati Destined to Lead Superbike Design for Next Decade

2011 Ducati Diavel CarboneBusiness people pride themselves on being the best at what they do, often to the detriment of the shareholders, employees and the company which they run. See, many people seem to think that a recession is the time for ultimate austerity, so they make drastic cuts to expenditures everywhere they can, including research and development.

Some attribute this to “common wisdom” and they are not wrong for many individuals, but companies not overly burdened with debt would be unwise to do the same. Slowing your work improving the products you sell when there is a pull-back will cost you far more in the long run than you will save. If you want an example of a company which made the correct choice and invested instead of withdrawing, look no further than Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati.

The 1098/1198 model line, the Multistrada 1200, and the ubercruiser Diavel are all stunning new motorcycles coming from the Bologna factory at present. Every one of them are actually based on the same engine, but each is tuned differently and obviously configured for different purposes, but all have sold exceptionally well. Right behind these brilliant bikes come the new Monster 696 and 796, the Hypermotard 796 and 1100, the Streetfighter line and the 848 EVO, each of which have also garnered their own popularity and enviable sales success – Ducati is winning market share every day.

The news that the rumor concerning the patent of an all new superbike for the street may in fact be on its way into production is simply another addition to this list of spectacular new designs from Ducati. The story is that the ‘Superquadrata’ has been said by insiders to be entering its final stages of development, and some say select importers have already laid eyes on it. Ducati officials, though, have neither confirmed nor denied any of this.

The new Ducati machine is said to have a monocoque chassis, possibly made primarily of carbon fiber, in a design which will mimic drawings present in the previously mentioned patent filing. The engine is where it gets very interesting, especially for the Ducati faithful, as the Superquadrata may feature an all-new engine. To give the engine a rather stratospheric rev ceiling for its design, a massively over-square bore and stroke are expected to be part of the circa 1200cc V-twin which will power the new beast, and gear-driven Desmodromic valve gear will surely be used as is Ducati’s tradition.

The expected suite of electronic goodness will certainly be updated from the factory’s recent high-end offerings. These include the Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES), Ducati Data Analysis (DDA), and there is sure to be a new anti-lock braking Ducati (Superquadrata) patent drawingsystem (ABS) configured specifically for a hypersport motorcycle (Ducati won’t want to be outdone by Honda).

With much of the concept of this model being descendant from Ducati’s MotoGP experience, there will be fly-by-wire throttle control connected to an advanced ECU for a holistically managed engine – really, more of a system now.

It could be possible to see Ducati include a launch control system as this is also gaining widespread use. At this point it is all supposition and assumption, though. The Superquadrata will certainly represent the best of Ducati’s knowledge thus far, but that is if it is to become a reality. This new and revolutionary machine could be nothing but a specter, after all, but the source is a trusted one…

What is known now is that Ducati is writing the future of the motorcycle industry and the constant advance of the technology within it. The last decade saw the arrival of the Italian marque as part of the larger market – no longer is a Ducati a ‘boutique’ motorcycle, it rides in theDucati Superquadrata conceptual naked same category as the Japanese Big Four and is certainly approaching brand recognition equal to that of Harley-Davidson, who they mimic in excessive licensing deals. What the future holds for them is looking very positive at this point, and for good reason.

Ducati has loosed upon the world some of the most sought-after motorcycles and there is no end in sight; they just keep surprising us and gaining market share. They do this because they are smart enough to know that investing in your strengths, instead of going on a strict diet, is the way to ride through rough times. Ducati will be leading their sector of the industry for a long time to come.

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Daytona 200 Winner Jason DiSalvo Looking Forward to Infineon

Jason_DiSalvo_at_Miller_Motorsports_parkIt’s been more than a month since Jason DiSalvo took home the Daytona 200 trophy from the Daytona International Speedway, but the Ducati rider has been keeping himself busy. With his own racing school and the most recent AMA Racing testing session at Miller Motorsports Park, DiSalvo is ready to continue his campaign for the 2011 championship at the Infineon Raceway.

DiSalvo won the opening round of the AMA Pro Racing season, giving Ducati its first ever Daytona 200 victory. But DiSalvo won’t have that winning momentum in his corner next weekend, as round two of the series will take place two months after the opening event.

DiSalvo will, however, have a pretty quick machine on his side for the battle in Infineon on May 14th and 15th. DiSalvo showed his speed last weekend at Miller Motorsports Park during an official testing session for the AMA riders.

“We ended up on top of the pile at the end of the two days,” DiSalvo said. “For us, it was a really productive test. We worked a lot on the front end of the Ducati, and made a lot of headway.”

DiSalvo and the Ducati team were also able to get a better feel for the Dunlop spec tires which will be used in Sonoma next weekend.

“We’re going to be back on the spec tires, the Dunlop 211 GPAs. They’re American made tires for the series, and at Miller, we really tried to get acquainted with those spec tires since we didn’t run on them in Daytona,” DiSalvo said. “We really wanted to get a good grip on the spec tires because we’ll be running on them for the rest of the series.”

During the long break, DiSalvo also launched the DiSalvo Speed Academy, giving himself another opportunity to keep his skills sharp for the upcoming race.

“I’m glad I had the school going. At least I had that, it kept me going, kept me riding,” DiSalvo said. “I got to throw my leg over the bike a couple of times and keep up with my training.”

DiSalvo and Ducati were both thrilled with their Daytona 200 victory, but Jason knows that the Daytona 200 is no more important than any of the other races on the schedule.

“Daytona is a half points event,” DiSalvo said. “We’re going to go to Infineon and there is going to be twice as many points up for grabs. I’m really looking forward to Infineon. It’s the beginning of the grind. We’ve had our big break, and now it’s time to get back to racing.”

[Photo Courtesy of Brian J. Nelson]