As the MotoGP field congregates in Indonesia for the second pre-season test in Mandalika, many eyes will be on Ducati after it was spotted running an alternative version of its innovative but controversial ride-height device, otherwise known as the ‘hole shot’ device.
Ducati secretly debuted the device in 2019 and allows its riders to activate a process that pushes the rear of the bike down before being released, giving more rear traction.
It was originally designed to help keep the front-end from performing a wheelie at the start – hence its ‘holeshot’ association – but over time Ducati developed a way for riders to use it at racing speed for more traction out of corners.
Eventually rivals have copied the device, with Suzuki the last to debut its version during the second-half of the 2021 season.
Now Ducati looks to be going one step further with a similar device that pushes down on the front suspension, allowing for more traction to slingshot out of bends.
With Ducati already renowned for hitting impressive numbers through the speed traps, there is a concern that the latest innovations will again break new records but lurch into a dangerous territory.
As it stands, Johann Zarco holds the record for the fastest speed recorded on a MotoGP bike – a 362.4klm/h (225mph) – but this can rise further in slipstreaming. Notably, of the ten fastest speeds recorded in MotoGP, Ducati riders hold each position.
“I know some manufacturers are trying to use this during their running, on the front,” Sahara said. “Okay, if it becomes common technology to be competitive, okay we have to try this and have to use this,”
“But this [would] force us to have more extra budget, to develop it. Also I don’t know if this is a good way for us to have more speed on the straight, in terms of safety. So actually we have to discuss about this very carefully, I think.”
Despite coming under criticism from its own riders Joan Mir and Alex Rins, the Suzuki boss says there are no plans to imitate Ducati’s innovations for the time being.
“Our [front] system currently works only for the start. So during the race or the run on track, that system doesn’t work for us.
“We understand how to make the system, we also know the method to develop it, but we are not really thinking to use this system at least for this year.”