The main changes to the bike are based on the rule changes, so the major part of the work was done precisely to make it perform better using only six engines for the entire championship. It’s a very important difference, because we were used to using more-or-less one engine per race, so to switch from eighteen engines to six is a very important adjustment. To go 1,600 kilometres with an engine that goes over 19,000 rpm isn’t a simple assignment.
All of the main parts were redesigned — pistons, rods, crankshaft, the basics. It’s an engine with which our main objective was to minimize the loss of power to increase durability. It was a change that will be very useful and interesting, also because normally in racing, durability isn’t the principal objective. Perhaps this new objective has enabled us to perform a series of experiments that will also be interesting for the new production engines that we’re developing because at this point they become almost comparable.
For a production engine, 2,000 kilometres of track use is a severe challenge so we start to think that the race engine durability is comparable with production engines. The second big news isn’t related to the rules, but to our attempt to make the bike more rideable. This has to do with the firing order. We have a motor that, since the switch to 800s, utilized a screamer setup. This has permitted us to have maximum power, which was very important and was probably fundamental with the results that we’ve had in 2007, 2008 and 2009, but at a certain point, we began to wonder whether it could be worthwhile to re-test a way that we’d already followed in the past.
The last 1000cc motors that we made in 2005 and 2006 used a big-bang firing order, and this gave us important rideability. We re-tested that way, first trying it on the dyno, then with Vittoriano Guareschi in his previous role as test rider and then with Nicky and Casey. We think we have a bike for 2010 with better traction, and that therefore makes it easier for us to find a good setup. Another part of the work was dedicated to the chassis. In the pursuit of ease of use, we’ve worked to eliminate the bike’s squatting, which is why the entire rear portion of the bike was redesigned.
This bike has a rear structure that carries the rider — which we call the seat support — and that also supports the swingarm. That part was redesigned to have six mounting points instead of four; this makes the bike more rigid in a way and it guarantees better rideability and improved rigidity. With respect to the bike we introduced last year, this bike is also aesthetically different because of the redesigned fairing but we already saw that at Estoril.