MotoGP 2020 – Ducati Team Launch, What to Expect from GP20 and Contracts for 2021
February 6, 2020
It has been a
long winter after the thrilling 2019 MotoGP season. Though if you look back and
only through paper or your screen it might look like everyone gave Marquez a
walkover. However, it was a season of epic intrigue that ran across every
single session and equally beyond the paddock. Now, with the new season just
around the corner, the wait is increasingly becoming harder to deal with. This
is why, like every year, we waited for the declaration of Ducati MotoGP Team
launch, traditionally the first team to show off its new livery for the new
season. Now we know we are a bit late to the party, but we would like to start
our 2020 MotoGP coverage with the Ducati team launch itself.
The 2020 Mission Winnow Ducati Team name proves that the Marlboro backed Mission Winnow has found some respite from the EU lawmakers which is interesting. Which was far more interesting was, was the venue of the launch, the stunning Palazzo Re Enzo in Piazza Maggiore, Bologna (Italy), a 13th-century palace not that far from the Ducati factory. At the event, along with the Factory Riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, you had Claudio Domenicali, CEO, Ducati Motor Holding explaining what racing means to Ducati and once again putting the limelight on the new Panigale range of superbikes that have been an extraordinary success for the brand in the last couple of years. You also had the wizard, Luigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager, present with a lot in his mind that only his slight smile would tell, like always.
However, the main attraction of the launch event was off course the new livery for the 2020 season and the lads from Ducati did not disappoint. Mostly taking inspiration from 2019 one, the new 2020 livery still has the Mission Winnow text and logo taking the centre stage on both sides of the fairing. That said, the red this time around if much redder than it has been for a long time. This has been particularly heightened by the use of black paint wherever 2019 had white. Especially the Mission Winnow logo being in black lends the new livery a much sportier look. This time around, the Audi Sport logo also gets a dark background, getting much more focus than on the previous one. Again, signalling that Audi has no intent as such to sell Ducati, a cyclic rumour that comes around every year and we can certainly expect it to arrive sooner or later this year as well.
to the livery and the new rider suits that continue the new theme, both look
much more focused, and aggressive as compared to 2019 one, a win then, more or
less. That said, we reckon, the 2018 Ducati livery was still the best Ducati
livery in a long time. The bikes, like always were the late last year one with
the new clothes, the true GP20 would only come out in the open for the first
time at the Sepang Pre-Season Test scheduled from Feb. 7-9, 2020.
Dall’Igna on GP20 and the upcoming Season
That Ducati is desperate to win the MotoGP championship again is a fairly known entity and has all the right to be as well. They have been runner up for three consecutive years now and everything they do, they just cannot fit the last piece of the puzzle, beating Marc Marquez. The GP19 was a better bike than the 2019 RC213V but Honda had managed to cover the horsepower and top speed gap with the Ducati and it was no longer easy for the Bologna Bullets to leave the Honda’s in their wake. This came out to be a massive jolt to Ducati’s arsenal and evidently, Ducati has taken the offence. Gigi said that Ducati was looking into getting more power out of the engine this year and thus higher top speeds. He said that it is better to have extra power that they might use or not rather than not having it at all, fair point. It would be interesting to see what numbers the speed traps show at Mugello this year.
That said, Ducati hasn’t forgotten that the turning remains the biggest issue that the team faces and even though a lot of improvement has happened over the last couple of years, the mid-corner turning remains a problem still. Gigi said that Ducati has created an all-new chassis for 2020. Also, the inputs form both the riders were positive at the December tests of Valencia and Jerez while the upcoming Sepang test will have more developments to the chassis. However, the bike that arrives at Sepang might still not be the final ready to race prototype since the final aero package won’t see the light until the final Pre-Season test at Qatar. Still, Gigi isn’t a fan of the stricter aero rules this year and said that he doesn’t think that this year we would be seeing any surprise Gigi aero magic though.
As for 2021
contracts, Gigi remained tight-lipped but for sure he wants to get that elusive
MotoGP championship under his belt, he is already a 125 and 250 champion and
would want to have the best possible rider on his Ducati to get the title for
Dovizioso – Expectation with 2020 season
Well, when you
have finished the last three years as the second-best in the world, the only
thing you would ever want is to make that final step and become the best. However,
the world championship title has eluded Dovizioso till now and Marquez
continues to push the boundaries further and further every passing year. Dovi
knowns that he is running out of time when the lights go out at Qatar in March,
Dovi would be 34 years old, and he is the last racer from his (Stoner, Pedrosa
and Lorenzo) era to be still racing. Valentino being a misnomer does not count
The biggest issue for Dovi in 2019 was inconsistent qualifying, there were far too many races where Dovi found himself in the middle of just too many riders at the start of the race, this doesn’t suit any title onslaught especially when you are up against an anomaly like Marc Marquez. On the bright side, the 2019 season was the best in terms of points scored for Dovi in a single year but then, Marquez still ended up scoring the most points ever scored in a year and eventually ended far ahead of Dovi. Marquez has learned to be as ruthlessly consistent as he is hungry to win every single time, he is out racing, and Dovi needs to find that little bit extra this year to finally get his name etched on that trophy at the end of the year.
suffered from the new compound Michelin brought for 2019, it was a much more
durable tyre that negated the benefit of brilliant tyre saving riding style of
Dovi and that combined with the newfound power and speed of Honda, there was
not much Dovi could do in terms of taking the fight to Marquez. Dovi also only
won just two races in 2019, 4 less than both 2017 and 2018. This was largely
because of the bad qualifying, unfortunate crashes due to mistakes by other
riders and mainly due to the rise of Alex Rins as a real contender every race
and a resurgent Vinales with his YZR-M1.
At the 2020
Mission Winnow team Launch, Dovi arrived with a new name on his leathers,
‘Undaunted Dovi’, with no ‘Desmo Dovi’ any longer, it might be a sign of things
that will come to fruition in 2021. Maybe, Dovi understands this well and
clear, 2020 is his last chance to win the title.
Petrucci – Will the Fairytale Continue beyond 2020?
One of the most outstanding stories of a man’s grit, hard work and a habit of never giving up in the paddock has been of Danilo Petrucci, from the world of CRT to a factory seat at Ducati, his story has been one for the ages. But will this story go beyond 2020 is a question everyone asked, especially in the second half of the 2019 season where Danilo’s form did not match the expectation he had set after his first-ever MotoGP victory at Mugello of all places. It was even more so tough for Danilo since Jack Miller grew in confidence and his results vastly improved in the latter half of 2019, resulting in rumours that Ducati can indeed replace Danilo with Miller as soon as in 2020 itself. But they were just that, rumours, but this doesn’t mean Petrux has it easy this year, he isn’t getting any younger and he would have to show some really good results to keep Ducati’s interest in him alive.
Petrucci understands this well and he has been training hard, both on the physical aspect as well as on the mental one. Saving the rear tyre through the full race distance is still one of his biggest weaknesses, owing much to his bigger dimensions as well as throttle control. That said, at the team launch, Danilo looked the thinnest he has looked in along time, maybe ever and is confident that he would be much stronger and consistent in 2020.
The inaugural Grand Prix of the 2020 MotoGP season is scheduled to be held on March 8 in Qatar under the floodlights but before that, we have two official pre-season tests lined up in at Sepang and Qatar. We will be bringing you a lot more (like a LOT) through the 2020 MotoGP season. I look forward to seeing you join us on this journey.
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