On a project like 1708, attention to track performance must be professionally manic. There is no feeling of the pilot that is not traced and brought back to parameters to be adjusted.
There is no telemetry data that is not analyzed in depth to refine every aspect of performance.
The approach to development on the track for 1708 is really very similar to that followed for a racing SBK or even a GP prototype. The design of ad hoc components and the extreme power-to-weight ratio require a dedicated setting of every aspect. And paradoxically, work on the raw material is so advanced that there is less need for electronics. Electronics is important, but the less it needs to intervene, the more it means that the bike is in balance.
The more the pilot is free to express himself.
“Much of the weight was taken off the bike’s perimeter parts, significantly improving agility, but the swinging arm is slightly longer so the bike can handle more front load and therefore has more stability when accelerating. We repositioned the rear end, shifting the braking position to compensate for the increased load on the front end. Different mass and different geometry. Continuously working with the riders to help improve lap times.
On the dynamic side this creates the perfect conditions to unleash the bike’s full potential. We can demand more power during acceleration because geometry and aerodynamics provide stability. With such a high level of perfection we were able to concentrate on developing the countless tuning possibilities.”
In fact Ducati brings to the 1708 project a reconfiguration of the track-oriented riding mode by introducing Race A, Race B and Sport: two more racing and softer maps.
These mappings intervene in the correlation between the delivery and the request of power by the pilot to give character to the driving experience. To make the driving experience customizable to the maximum, 5 free slots have also been inserted for custom mappings to which the GPS track of the preferred circuit can be assigned. The GPS of some circuits have already been mapped and inserted: Laguna Seca, Mugello, Jerez, Sepang and Losail.
As further proof of the racing feeling of the 1708 project Ducati is developing a software performance package equipped with an HMI exactly the same as that used by Dovi in GP, completely dedicated to track use.
“To put it plainly, a bike with such a high level of technical content allows us to develop electronics that make the most of its extreme characteristics instead of limiting them.
The weight is reduced mainly in the peripheral areas of the bike and therefore its agility when changing direction is incredible. Braking is described by the riders as ‘unlike any other production motorcycle’ because it’s easier to slow a vehicle that is so much lighter, and the technology allows for total repeatability of the braking gesture without changes in the brake stroke. We have a global exclusive for the Brembo Stilema R brake equipment for this project”.
The Ducati team does a manic job of tuning every mechanical and electronic aspect of the bike, instilling racing intelligence into the already complex fibers of this project. It is a work invisible to the naked eye, but impressive from the first corner after the straight.
“What perhaps isn’t clear is that as the bike becomes more and more futuristic, it also becomes easier to ride, increasingly ergonomic, designed not only to give the maximum, but also to let the rider give the maximum. That’s what happens at races on the weekend. We do with the 1708 what we do on the Friday before the race. The bike doesn’t change appearance from Friday to Sunday, but the lap time constantly improves until you get to the pole. Things that cameras
don’t see but the stopwatch does”.