The iconic Italian motorcycle manufacturer, Ducati, has very good reason to celebrate this week. Australian factory rider Troy Bayliss was crowned 2008 World Superbike Champion at the latest round in France, and in the process also secured the ...
The iconic Italian motorcycle manufacturer, Ducati, has very good reason to celebrate this week. Australian factory rider Troy Bayliss was crowned 2008 World Superbike Champion at the latest round in France, and in the process also secured the Manufacturers title for Ducati. Meanwhile, over in Australia, Casey Stoner took a convincing win in his home country in what was Ducati's 100th MotoGP race. As technical partner to Ducati, these are also victories for Shell.
"Since the two companies joined forces in the World Superbike Championship in 1999 and in MotoGP in 2003, the flow of results has been tangible and consistent at race tracks around the world" said Juan Carlos Perez, General Manager of Global Sponsorship, Shell Brands International. "Shell has fully embraced the strategic relationship in which both parties put engineering development first, which has led to yet another successful milestone in the history of the partnership."
The success story began in the very first year of collaboration when the legendary World Superbike rider Carl Fogarty won the 1999 Riders' title on the Ducati 996, protected by Shell Advance Ultra 4 racing oil. In 2001, this feat was repeated by the Australian rider Troy Bayliss on his Ducati 996 Testastretta. Two years later, Ducati extended their racing programme to the MotoGP Championship, while Shell introduced Ducati Corse to V-Power fuel to complement its Shell Advance lubricant. This first season of combined World Superbike and MotoGP competition went far better than expected. In World Superbikes, Neil Hodgson won the World Superbike Riders' title on the all-new Ducati 999 and Ducati won the World Superbike Manufacturers' crown for the first time. Over in MotoGP, the Ducati factory team finished in a very respectable second place. Two more World Superbike Riders' crowns were added to the Ducati Corse trophy cabinet in 2004 and 2006 by James Toseland and Troy Bayliss, and then in 2007, the Ducati MotoGP team took home all three World Titles (riders', manufacturers' and team), becoming the first non-Japanese manufacturer to win the premier class for 30 years. The Riders' crown was taken by Casey Stoner, who at only 21 was in his debut season for Ducati.
In 2008, the engine of the new Ducati MotoGP bike - the Desmosedici GP8 - has been developed in collaboration with Shell's engineers. The engine has been modified to minimise friction and increase the power and responsiveness of the bike, with the help of a specially-designed combination of Shell V-Power race fuel and Shell Advance lubricant. Similarly, World Superbike's Ducati 1098 F08 Superbike runs on a race version of premium road fuel Shell V-Power, with lubrication provided by Shell Advance.
"Shell Advance can make an incremental difference to performance by reducing the amount of friction within the engine and gearbox," said Michael Knaak, Lubricant Development & Delivery Manager, Shell Global Solutions. "In 2004 we introduced friction modifiers to the oil, which saw the Ducati Desmosedici produce significantly more horsepower. On the fuel front, maximising fuel efficiency has become the most important goal. Fuel efficiency and power can be in direct opposition to each other, so the challenge for the Shell technicians is to meet this fuel economy goal while balancing the required delivery of performance. As a result, the Shell V-Power fuel blend is constantly being developed as we gain the knowledge from racing these high revving, ultra-powerful engines".
To help this ongoing development, in 2008 Shell technicians introduced a mobile facility called the "Shell Track Lab" to the MotoGP paddock. As a genuine technical partner, Shell works literally next door to Ducati's garage, underlining the strategic relationship in which both parties embrace engineering development to ensure that the fuels and lubricants are optimised for the benefits of all bikers. Back at their base in Hamburg, these same technicians are responsible for the development of fuels and lubricant to match not only the sporting regulations, but the discerning requirements of the Ducati team itself -- now one of Shell's most insightful and demanding customers.
Today, Shell's technical partnership with Ducati has become one of the most successful in the world of motorsport, with nine World titles and over 150 wins achieved during these first ten years. At the core of this relationship lies a common passion for technology: Ducati develops its legendary race and road bikes, while Shell works to design high-performing fuel and lubricants for the benefit of riders worldwide.