Gigi Dall’Igna says purely racing motivations were behind Ducati’s switch to the V4 engine over its V-twin and doesn’t expect “any problems with this configuration” ahead of its World Superbike debut.
The Ducati boss kept a close eye on the two-day Jerez World Superbike test with factory riders Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista in action, the latter getting his first experience on a Superbike, and feels it’s the right time for the ethos overhaul moving to the V4 engine.
With a tight leash on maximum revs in World Superbikes by championship organisers, Dall’Igna feels the move away from its traditional V-twin became vital to improve its competitive racing efforts in its bid to end the Kawasaki domination of four consecutive manufacturers’ and riders’ world titles.
“This is the best possible bike for the Superbike class,” Dall’Igna said. “Honestly, with these rules and I am happy about this change.
“The Ducati engine I think, the V4, honestly, is the Ducati engine. Because of the desmodromics, because of some things. I am a race engineer so I speak only for racing and not for production. I am quite happy about this solution.
“At the moment I did not see any real problems with the development tests we did and I am confident we will not have any problems with this configuration.”
The Superbike engine switch was also triggered by the aging Panigale R and its V-twin engine which Dall’Igna felt had come to the end of its development cycle.
With the increased pressure for success in World Superbikes, the Ducati boss feels its progress with the V4 is on schedule to meet targets in 2019.
“Honestly the Panigale was in the final stage of development. So it was not possible to improve more. I think that this is the maximum that we can achieve,” he said.
“I think we have this pressure with every project that we do. It is not a real problem because Ducati has to win. Honestly, the pressure that everybody has put on me is nothing in comparison with the pressure that I put on myself. It is not a problem.
“The project is completely new and is honestly quite young. There are some issues to solve and there are some spaces to improve in some areas. If I can give a number it is maybe 80%.
“The reality is that we have improved the bike quite a lot with the test riders, like Lorenzo Zanetti and Michele Pirro. Both of them tested the bike during this year. Now it is time to change from the test riders to the official riders, and we just started.
“We have some small problems to solve and all the riders complain about this problem when they tested the bike, so we have some clear idea where we have to improve the bike. In some other points it is the rider.
“Chaz asked for something different but this is normal. But 80% of the small problems that we have, everybody complains about. We have a clear idea about the problems to solve.”