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Double data challenge for reigning champions

Ducati on the hunt for more success

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Philip Urban
Philip Urban
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The NetApp backed Ducati Lenovo Team had a fantastic 2022 season, securing its first MotoGP Riders’ World title in 15 years and a second consecutive Teams’ Championship. Securing the riders’ title looked like a pipe dream at the season’s midpoint, but Francesco Bagnaia clawed back more than a 90-point deficit by the end of the last race at Valencia to capture the championship.

From design through race setup, data is essential

“Data is fundamental to every stage of racing. Starting at the design phase and passing through development, all the way through to race setup,” said Gabriele Conti, Ducati Corse Electronic Systems Director.

Whether the data is collected from the bike, in simulations, or from rider feedback, it's all analyzed to improve performance. “Data tells the truth by definition, giving us reliable performance indicators and allowing us to make better choices. It is useful for understanding what could be improved and what direction we need to take, in bike development or over a race weekend,” explains Conti.

“The feedback from the riders is also fundamental. In the past we only relied on that to develop the bikes. Today the most important goal is to make real data, simulations, and rider feedback work together. This is a very important challenge on which we are working a lot.”

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Preparing for new venues

As new venues join the Championship calendar, like India in 2023, the team relies on simulations to rapidly collect and process data.

“The preparation of the bike before a race is the fusion of all the development data of the current year and the data of the previous races,” says Conti.

It’s not just the volume of data, it’s the quality of the data, and that's true for how the data is collected, as well as how it is processed, shared, and protected.

According to Conti, “The quantity of sensors is more or less always the same, at around 40 on the race bike and 60 on the development bike. But we are improving the type of sensors: Every season we make more complex and more accurate measurements. This allows for more reliable data and consequently more precise calculations, which are useful for all analysis. The dynamic performance of the bike is also absolutely linked to the quality of the sensors, so if these improve the bike will perform better.”

How Ducati uses data

Ducati is in a unique position with a total of eight bikes on the grid and around 400 sensors collecting greater amounts of data on every lap.

“The way Ducati manages its own data and the data of its three satellite teams is transparent.”

The data even played a key role in informing the decision to recruit 25-year-old Enea Bastianini to the factory team and bringing him up to speed on the new environment, jumping from the 2022 Ducati to the 2023 edition. “His data from the 2022 Gresini team was available, like those of any other Ducati riders. Again, we study old data and new data with the aim of obtaining the best performance possible.”

Double data challenge for reigning champions - Ducati and NetApp, a winning partnership

“Data has become very important for the riders, who have become good ‘data readers’ in order to improve their own performance,” concludes Conti.

NetApp supported the team in getting the most out of its data throughout the incredible 2022 season, and with 20 race weekends, each with a Saturday Sprint race, the number of races per season has more than doubled from 2023 onward.

More bikes and double the number of races mean even more data, and more opportunity to optimize performance. To find out more about the partnership, visit the NetApp Ducati page.

Philip Urban

As Senior Manager Global Sponsorship, Philip Urban is responsible for the management of NetApp’s motorsport sponsorships including Aston Martin F1, Porsche Formula E, and Ducati in MotoGP. With a broad international background in sports marketing, Philip has a demonstrated track record of setting up global partnerships for success and driving measurable business results.

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