Top of
the class

The guys from the UniBo Motorsport team reveal the secrets of their triumph at the Motostudent International Competition 2021.

Winning
synergy

It is known as Minerva GN. Because it is a sophisticated product of ingenuity and applied arts, because it has proven successful on many fronts, and because, just like the Roman goddess, it has its roots in the land of the Etruscans, or rather felsinee, from the ancient name for the city of Bologna.

Designed and built by the UniBo Motorsport team and sponsored and supported by Fondazione Ducati, Minerva GN is the bike that triumphed in the Electric Category of the 2021 Motostudent International Competition. A win that was a long time in the making, in that it is the result of collaboration between Ducati and the oldest university in the western world, one of many partnerships that make up this wonderful land known as Motor Valley. It also serves as an important milestone for the future, for the development of electric propulsion vehicles and the training of the motorsport designers of tomorrow.

In the three years spent working on Minerva GN, the young UniBo Motorsport engineers worked like a MotoGP team, managing every phase of the development process, “From the design and creation of the components, to testing in the lab and on track”, explain Rebecca Rimondi and Fabio Curto, respectively Motostudent Team Leader and Chief Technical Officer for UniBo Motorsport.

How many people are involved in the team?

R – If we consider all UniBo Motorsport activities, so also the competitions for four-wheeled vehicles, there are 200 of us. Sixty are involved in the Motostudent project and we’re mainly engineering students but there are also those from other faculties, even the humanities. To build a successful team, you need different expertise and skills, from designers to marketing and communications experts.

How did the collaboration with Ducati come about?

R- Ducati is a fundamental partner in our projects. Engineers Di Piazza and Cané are the first to see our ideas for the new bike. They help us understand the optimum level we should be aiming for, and how we can actually get there.

F- It’s a continual collaboration. We speak on a weekly basis to analyse and discuss the development of the bike, but also to ensure we carry out team management activities in the best possible way.

How often does the Motostudent Championship run?

F- Every two years, although the last edition was postponed by a year due to Covid. But after each championship, we all start over from scratch. You start with a blank page and so are free to propose new ideas.

How much work is involved?

F- In general terms, team members are asked to make a weekly commitment, outside of their lessons, so as to reconcile this activity with their studies. Of course, our efforts intensify as the races approach, because each race requires a great deal of preparation.

R- For the six team managers, me and Fabio included, the commitment is a daily one. This is a real job, and it inevitably cuts into our study time. But it’s worth it, because it’s a truly unique experience that enriches us both humanly and professionally.

What was the key to the Motostudent victory?

F- If we look at the bike, I’d say the chassis. Before the final event at Aragón, some tests were carried out by the federation’s official test riders, one of whom is former MotoGP rider Jeremy McWilliams. Everyone said that the bike was easy to handle and immediately offered good feeling. This is because we were able to produce the main components here at home, exploiting state-of-the-art technologies.

R- We were also able to conduct many tests, organised down to the finest detail, which allowed us to really experiment with our solutions and outfit a bike that was tailor-made for its rider, Alessandro Berardi. But I’d say that the real winning ingredient was the chemistry within the team. There was a great atmosphere right from the outset, and this allowed us to work well together throughout the project and particularly during the races. When you’ve everything to play for and little time available, being able to understand each other quickly, almost at a glance, makes the difference.

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