The countdown has begun for the latest season of MotoGP and Ducati turned out to be the first team on the grid to reveal their 2018 project. The Team Presentation for the new season took place in Borgo Panigale outside Bologna, Italy where the new Ducati Desmosedici GP18 race bikes were revealed. While the spec upgrades are still under wraps, Ducati has revealed the updated paint scheme on the motorcycles while also confirming that the bikes will be making a lot more power. Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo reprise their roles for this season and will be seen piloting the '04' and '99' badged bikes respectively.
The 2018 Ducati MotoGP builds on the 2017 model and boasts of new colours including the iconic red with the addition of grey, replacing the white paint scheme. The new livery also confirms the absence of TIM being dropped as a sponsor for the team this year. With respect to changes, Ducati described the upgrades as an evolution of what was offered in the last season. Ducati General Manager Dall'Igna said that the bike makes more horsepower, although the ride-ability will be easier. The team also worked on a host of other technical points to improve the motorcycle.
That said, the final 2018 bike is yet to be revealed and won't be ready until the second or third race. The team has a host of ideas and details that will be testing in Sepang next month, in Malaysia. The bike will also see new aerodynamic solutions being tested during this phase. The tests will continue by its test riders in the last test of Qatar as well.
Ducati had an incredible 2017 with Andrea Dovizioso being the surprise package of all. 'DesmoDovi' as he is called, took six wins through the season and took the fight for the championship right down to the final round against champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda. 2018, then turns out to be an even more crucial year for the rider as all eyes will be on him for a better performance in the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, hopes are high from teammate Jorge Lorenzo as well, who pilots the '99' Ducati. While the 2017 season wasn't the best for the five-time world champion, the latter stages of the year saw Lorenzo finally get more comfortable with his bike. Speaking at the presentation, Lorenzo too was optimistic about the 2018 MotoGP season and aims to have more victories in his belt this year.
This year will see teams and riders contest in a total of 19 races with the addition of the Buriram circuit in Thailand to the calendar. However, the teams will be testing the 2018 bikes at Sepang in less than two weeks from now, before heading to Qatar in March to kick-start the latest season.