Ducati Corse, a subsidiary of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A, was responsible for managing the activities of the Ducati racing teams. Historically, Ducati had been the dominant force in the Superbike Circuit winning 13 titles since 1990. Until recently, Ducati was only part of the World Superbike series. But a recent rule by FIM (in 2001) permitting the use of 4-stroke engine in bikes as against 2-stroke engines, which was a mandate earlier (for MotoGP) prompted Ducati to get into MotoGP. Despite the fact that high costs were involved and Ducati faced the risk of being a late entrant into MotoGP, the Ducati team was highly enthusiastic about this new development. Ducati had a fairly successful ...view middle of the document...
2. Experience: Years of prior experience in terms of developing commercial bikes and bikes for Superbike series gave them the confidence to build the GP3 bike.
3. Partnerships and Relationships: Close relationships with top racing companies as Ferrari, Toyota etc. and access to an array of specialized bike parts suppliers also contributed to the success of Ducati.
4. Smart Decisions: Even though the decision to get into MotoGP was made as early as 2001, Ducati’s management team decided to participate in the race only in 2003 and in the process bought themselves some time to come up with a solid and competitive bike.
5. Top recruits: Ducati also benefited because of the great resources that they had. This included their ability to attract top engineering graduates in Italy, presence of two of the top racers in their ranks - Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss.
6. Sound leadership: A significant contribution to Ducati’s success must be attributed to the able and thoughtful leadership of Domenicali, Preziosi , Cecchinelli.
7. Passionate employees: Ducati Corse consisted of some very passionate and dedicated engineers who were all crazy about building superior bikes and engines.
8. Low expectations: The fact that they were competing in MotoGP for the first time, Ducati went ahead to the championship with very low expectations. Perhaps this eased the pressure off the racers which enabled them to go all-out with nothing to lose.
9. Culture: Presence of a relatively informal culture wherein the employees rode motorcycles to work and dressed casually made the employees always feel at home.
10. Others: Some of the other important factors included presence of cross-functional teams for specific issues, regular meetings to discuss the progress of the project, adequate use of technology etc. Also huge importance given to physical testing which involved dyno bench tests, wind tunnel tests etc. and track testing across 10 different circuits around the world ensured that the resultant GP3 was perfectly ready for the MotoGP race.
What went wrong/different in the second season?
Riding high on the success of 2003 season, the Ducati team wanted to take their success a step further. In their efforts towards achieving the optimum design, they ran several tests to identify any design related issues and even hired 2 engineers to do the data analysis. Through these initiatives and with the inputs from rider feedback and simulation tests, Ducati identified some weight distribution related issues with GP3. As a result, when finally GP4 (devoid of these issues) debuted, expectations were high. But, unfortunately the 2004 results were not satisfactory enough. Few of the things which might have gone wrong include:
1. Wrong decisions: The decision by Ducati to wait for 2003 data to arrive seems to have backfired as this resulted in less time being available for the development of GP4.
2. Data issues: As the 2003 season...