After the opening two rounds of the 2020 MotoGP world championship, it seemed Ducati were on track with their GP20.
Then Brno happened. Brno did not work. The highest finishing GP20 was Jack Miller in 9th, while Johann Zarco took a podium on the older GP19. All the improvements they had seemingly made for the Jerez rounds had vanished.
So what have been the changes? They’ve made improvements to the ‘salad box’ and the way the exhaust exits, as well as aerodynamic improvements and frame changes. As a MotoGP bike is a constantly evolving machine, these will eventually make way for new innovations.
First up, the exhaust. As you can see below, it is much, much straighter. The 2019 bike had it tucked up beside the salad box, whereas the latest 2020 iteration just goes its own way. One would suspect it is to do with power delivery, and attempting to make it smoother. The salad box itself has increased in side, and the tail unit is longer, all in the name of aerodynamic slipperiness and the new wings are bigger and create more drag.
Exhaust comparison between GP19 (top) and GP20 (bottom)
The aero cheeks have gotten bigger too, as seen in the first photo. They now envelop the front much more. The angle had changed massively, as well as the material. They seem to be a different weave of carbon fibre, with the width being incredibly bigger. This must be to combine with the new front fork aero, a surprise Ducati pulled out of the bag at Jerez. They’ve kept the wheel covers but the front wheel cover now seems to mate into one with the fork aero, creating a cohesive unit. The swingarm scoop that was such a controversial item in 2019 remains but bigger.
The frame changes seem to have been aimed towards the age-old Ducati issue of turning. The full changes made are obviously a closely guarded secret as you cannot physically see them, but Andrea Dovizioso has been complaining that the bike does not turn since he joined the Ducati team in 2013, so one would suspect it was to create better turning.
Jerez seemed to be the step forward Ducati needed, with Dovizioso taking a podium, and Pecco Bagnaia was running in 2nd for much of the second Jerez race before an engine failure. But as said above, Brno was a disaster. Austria’s doubleheader gives them a chance at redemption, and prove they’re still on the right track with their development.
Featured images- www.motogp.com