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GP Week : Issue 179
GPWEEK: What do you think you brought to BMW to bring success? BERNHARD GOBMEIER: Mainly what I could see at BMW is that some of the people were very good, but too many people were steering the boat. I eliminated first a lot of the wrong inputs, that confused the team. Then of course a lot of work on the technical side, and also to get Melandri, to get some very smart input from the rider side. It is never one or two items. It’s always the whole sum and the convergence of everything that has to be put together. It seems there are many parallels with Ducati. It is not the same situation, but many things are very familiar. When I tell my wife about my work with Ducati, she says: ‘This story I have already heard from you, two years ago’. But it is not one-to-one comparable. The technology level at Ducati is very, very high, very positive. That’s why I believe we have most of the ingredients. We just have to mix them in a proper relation to each other. Which is more important – technical, or management? I would not really distinguish it too much. My background is also technical, but I know my limits, and I try not to determine what to do, because I have much better specialists. But I try to ask the right questions, and I don’t accept always the first answer. What have you done so far with the Desmosedici, and what is next? One thing you can see already, where we optimised the weight distribution and centre of gravity, which had a positive effect. Other things are still to come, and of course I cannot disclose them now. What I can say is we work on every area of the motorcycle, so it’s not like it was perceived in the past – ah, we just need a new frame and that will fix all the problems. It’s not so easy. The secret of making a motorcycle behave is that all the ingredients are working together in a proper way. Right now, if the engine is very good in top power it doesn’t mean it is good everywhere. The same thing with the frame, the brakes, the electronics. Everything by itself works pretty good. But the way to put it together is not the way it is right now. In January, you spoke of “evolution not revolution”. Does that still apply? It depends how widely you define evolution. I stick to that, because most of the stuff we have is not totally off. We just have to refine the edges to make them fit together. At least for this year. We will not have a major redesign this year. For next year we will all of us have new electronics, as everybody – we are already working on implementing them, redesigning our software to do this. We are already working on the engine for next year. As you know next year the engine will be frozen, so we already have to know what we will do in order to freeze a more optimised engine than we have now. On the frame side we will not make a major redesign. That is why I am saying there will not be a revolution – whatever, carbon-fibre, magnesium, composite something just for the hell of it. Will there be room for Audi/ VW engineering, like a compact monoblock narrow-angle vee? I will rule that out. A mono-head vee is good for a car package, where horsepower and cooling is not a real issue It’s a super-compact design which fits very nicely for a front-wheel drive application. For a race engine, no way. There might be some ideas from some people, but the motorcycle competence is within Ducati, and it will stay like this. What can VW/Audi learn from Ducati? That is something they are looking into. The desmodromic valve system has some advantages in terms of friction and fuel economy. There are also areas in the electronics where we have a different approach from car companies. Also in light-weight design. We already have communication with the car guys in terms of carbon-fibre and aluminium. Sometimes we help them, sometimes they help us. We still have to explore all the possibilities. Of course right now we are so much occupied with design and development of the bike, so this is just a side business where we see where we can benefit one another. Audi has huge resources and technology in rapid prototyping, for example. I had a meeting two weeks ago on certain topics, and looks really nice ... things that Ducati doesn’t have access to, and sometimes we don’t even know that these possibilities exist. So in the near future we will exchange some technology, with people from Audi coming over, and our people going there. Will you stick with desmodromics? It seems some advantage is lost with the MotoGP drive to limit revs. It’s a system that works flawlessly. It’s a Ducati feature. Of course also pneumatic valve systems work flawlessly, but why should be change to something which is not a Ducati feature, and where we have to invest again some development into that which does the same job, or even perhaps a bit less. What’s the target this year, in order to keep the sponsor happy? Independent of the sponsor the target is that we are improving the nature of Ducati. By the end of the season we would like to challenge for podium places. Realistically Dani and Jorge are virtually unreachable, even for the other guys. But we would like to catch up to the second group. 5 MINUTES WITH BERNHARD GOBMEIER Fresh from guiding the BMW Superbike team to winning ways, Gobmeier is Audi’s first appointment at the top at Ducati, taking over the reins of the troubled MotoGP team, where he is required to do the same job. He spoke with MICHAEL SCOTT 5 MINUTES 17 GPWEEK.com // 17 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: