Interview with Vincenzo de Silvio, Ducati Director of R&D

Extremist solidity

Unmistakeable design and a passion for racing are two key values for which Ducati is famed worldwide. But first and foremost Ducati is recognised and revered as a supremely innovative motorcycle brand obsessed by extreme performance.

On top of this, Ducati has always devoted intense care to reliability, robustness and enduring engine life. All these themes have piloted the conception and production of the V4 Granturismo project, along with the determination to maximise the engine’s smoothness and dependability.

We discussed this with Vincenzo de Silvio, Ducati’s Director of Research and Development.

From its heroic feats of the past to its most recent exploits, Ducati has always approached the travel-enduro world with the same dedication to performance that distinguishes it when it creates its super sports bikes. But this time the chosen goals were different from those that usually guide the design of an engine devoted to racing. 

“The Desmosedici Road model had an engine conceived and developed to produce the extreme performance levels of motor racing. This new challenge involved steering that experience towards a new engine which enhances torque at low and mid-range speeds and smooth running at low speeds. As a result, at the first meeting between designers and engineers, our destination was immediately clear to us: a deeply revised V4, with a new personality, created to fit the vehicle's mission. A high performance engine suitable for long distances. Robust, fluid, versatile and, of course, extremely Ducati." 

The 4-cylinder choice guaranteed the kind of fluidity and smoothness that such a layout was designed to provide "naturally". This enabled us to focus on greater commitment to the innovative aspects that new component design could provide. As a result, the V4 Granturismo establishes new benchmarks in terms of design and performance, while endowing these motor creations with an even more solid, regular, fluid and performing heart.

"The final result is a 1,158 cc engine with a thrust of 170 hp. These two statistical peaks alone are enough to provide an idea of the work carried out on this project, reaching dazzling heights at any level, and unequalled in its segment. These are extraordinary numbers, and will ring in the ears of our fans, but they reveal only one side of this achievement."

The V4 Granturismo is no different from its predecessors in terms of process: once again it is the result of a meticulously inexorable team engineering effort, from general layout to final assembly, passing through the selection of new materials and the countless tests carried out during the study phase. 

However, there are many other things that make this engine a truly unique product in the history of the Ducati brand. The most surprising is the choice of distribution system: for the first time, instead of the desmodromic valve system, springs have been adopted.

“In this case our goal was to build an engine with the longest possible gaps between maintenance sessions, and spring distribution was the best technical answer to this need.”

The history of Ducati is deeply bonded with the desmo system as developed and perfected by its historic engineer Fabio Taglioni. For over thirty years his extraordinary engineering contributions enabled Ducati to achieve legendary results in terms of performance and competitiveness, while boosting brand engine skills and know-how. Leaving us a heritage of essential expertise empowering us to confront this new challenge:

“During the development of the V4 Granturismo we discovered that the solutions evolved over many years of Desmo application in material selection and construction tolerance worked perfectly when applied to a spring-based distribution... enabling us to reach a result never previously achieved by anyone else."

For example: up to 60,000 km before the first valve clearance check. This segment record is equivalent to one and a half times the earth's circumference.

"A statistic which demonstrates the incredible solidity and robustness of the V4 Granturismo. It also redefines the limits of a segment that previously averaged 25,000 km for the main service check... less than half our time. For our customers, this means one thing above all: slashing maintenance operations, both in terms of costs and frequency."

Which then translates into more freedom in long-distance journeys and less waiting during maintenance, since our oil service is planned for far into the future: at respectively 15,000 km or two years. 

This extreme reliability goes hand in hand with the versatility of the V4 Granturismo, which offers an unprecedentedly wide range of usage options and much improved reactivity to the rider's needs.

“Testing operations were not limited to bench validation tests. After all, rider experience sensations were a fundamental element in what we wanted to deliver, so the long and meticulous work carried out by our testers was indispensable. Alessandro Valia and Andrea Rossi made a vital contribution to the project in all respects, including the agility and handling of the model as a whole – enabled by the new ultra-compact layout of the engine – plus its effectively smooth running and its performance at different engine speeds. They also tested comfort and riding pleasure in different conditions and uses, optimised by solutions like the counter-rotating crankshaft and the system for deactivating the vertical cylinders when idle.”

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V4 Granturismo engine

A new V4 engine; a technological pillar based on four theorems expanding and improving state-of-the-art innovation. A new paradigm that elevates the sportiness written in our DNA towards fresh horizons of versatility and reliability.

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