The temporary exhibition “Anatomy of Speed” shows how Ducati successfully exploited its scientific knowledge and turned it into a competitive advantage.
Aerodynamics applied to racing bikes is a fairly new science: aerodynamic appendices or extended fairings have always been present on motorcycles, but only at a prototype level. Rarely have we seen wing appendices applied in the final configurations of racing or production motorcycles.
One of the reasons why aerodynamics has recently become one of the sciences studied by the world of motorcycle racing is the shape of the vehicle: it is in fact a stocky body that radically changes its track alignment in the various stages of riding, supported at the same time by the rider who affects its position in a much more significant way than on any other land vehicle. These factors therefore complicate the understanding of the overall aerodynamic effect.
In its ongoing search for technological innovation, Ducati paved the way for the study of aerodynamics as a rigorous application of the scientific method, taking it to a higher level. In a world where technological innovation counts in every millisecond, Ducati is a leader in the development of the most advanced aerodynamic solutions for high performance motorcycles.
The temporary exhibition focuses on the role of aerodynamics, a fundamental element of the MotoGP world, a technological ingredient that rewrites the notion of Performance.
Having a vehicle that is “aerodynamically efficient” can mean many things: every aspect of the interaction between fluid, in this case air, and vehicle is taken care of to obtain the desired effect. For example, the design of a fairing that allows the reduction of the drag coefficient can increase the maximum speed: this effect is, for example, more evident on the lap time, the greater the number and length of straights of a circuit.
Thanks to the design of technically advanced methods, today Ducati represents a reference point in terms of aerodynamics applied to high-performance motorcycles.
Ducati Desmosedici: The evolution of wings
Application of Ducati Corse studies to production bikes
Aerodynamics is a science that can easily be transferred from racing bikes to production bikes: the knowledge that Ducati has gained in recent years in the development of aerodynamics has allowed the Borgo Panigale company to build extremely fast production bikes, for example the Panigale V4R, synonymous with speed combined with very high performance. Other concepts related to aerodynamic development and fundamental for every rider, on which Ducati has deepened its studies improving its performance, are the thermal comfort and riding stability. Both can be applied to any motorcycle, improving significantly the production bikes for which DMH is famous all over the world.
Initially race bikes did not need fairings because the races of the time did not require special aerodynamic appendices, given the variety of roads to be covered.
These aerodynamic solutions were adopted between the 30s and 50s, but only for the speed records, which were one of the best “advertising means” for motorcycle manufacturers. Around 1952, fairings of different shapes began to be used on racing motorcycles as well.
1956 was the year of the debut of the fairings on the Borgo Panigale motorcycles: the 125 Grand Prix Desmo of that year was the first Ducati to develop a so called “bell-shaped” fairing, with an enveloping shape, normally used on racing motorcycles of the time. This type of fairing, and its aerodynamics, made the bike faster, but extremely dangerous in case of a fall, because it prevented the rider from being able to release himself from the vehicle. The Ducati Siluro, same age as the 125 Desmo, is the second example of Ducati's “aerodynamic” bike, which won 46 speed records in six hours, setting new records at an average of 160 km/h, without ever encountering problems of mechanical reliability.
In 1994 Ducati introduced the 916, the first supersport bike produced in Borgo Panigale that is the most similar, in terms of inspiration, to the powerful Japanese racing bikes in the 500 class; the transition from the 888 to the 916 can be considered a real revolution under all aspects.
With Ducati's debut in MotoGP, the evolution of racing bikes from the Bologna-based company had a strong acceleration, to the point that in just four years since 2003, the year of its debut, Ducati won the title in 2007 with Casey Stoner. Subsequently, the bike designed by Filippo Preziosi featured several changes including the adoption of a carbon frame, and, in 2010, a pair of fins positioned on the fairing sides. This solution, which will also be adopted in competitions, will be abandoned during the 2011 and 2012 two-year period.