The Ducati Desmosedici has a real chance of claiming its first MotoGP title since 2007: even if Marquez comes out on top of the remaining rounds, the bike that two former MotoGP champions couldn’t tame is finally doing the business without Casey Stoner’s ability to bend any bike to his will. Not directly, anyway – he’s on the development team and has been helping Dovi understand it...
It’s brilliant: just a few years ago, MotoGP was processional, dull, and grids were dwindling as fast as viewing figures. But rule changes have had the desired effect: the title fight is between three riders, three manufacturers, with race wins and podiums even more wide open. But it’s not just the rules – Ducati’s appointment of Gigi Dall’Igna brought the sort of innovation they needed to harness the Desmo’s huge power. From being the factory bike nobody wanted, they’re now leading development, as Mat Oxley will tell you.
We’ll be getting a taste of it next month when the GP-derived Panigale V4 arrives, but before that we wanted to give the Pani twin a last chance to prove itself in Rutter’s hands against Aprilia’s RSV4. What started as a reference-point gathering exercise turned into the closest, fastest Rutter test yet.
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