The revolution has not started at Ducati, one year after the iconic Italian marque was purchased by one of the scions of German vehicular engineering, Audi.
Ducati Corse remains either a languid mess or a serious work in progress, depending on your viewpoint. Factory riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso longingly look up the road every race at their Japanese factory counterparts Yamaha and Honda, with seemingly no hope of catching them this year. Staying in front of the Aspar Aprilia CRT bikes during races sometimes has been a stiff challenge for the Boys from Bologna. Dovizioso is eighth in the World Championship, Hayden ninth.
Team boss Bernhard Gobmeier knows evolution won't start the revolution on Borgo Panigale. He has promised that 2014 Ducati factory riders Dovizioso and newcomer Cal Crutchlow will ride all-new machines. New frames. New engines. New ideas to solve old problems, such as lack of front-end feel that plagued the manufacturer's machines even when they were winning races at the hands of Casey Stoner three years ago.
"We are working on a complete redesign of the motorcycle," Gobmeier said to German media. "We investigate every angle, we study the data and all information that we have collected this year."
Ducati will introduce an hybrid between its GP13 and 2014 machines at the post-Valencia test in November, Gobmeier said. That bike will be refined into the team's 2014 bike.
Gobmeier insisted neither machine - the interim or final bike - will return to the carbon-fiber chassis concept that uses the engine as a stressed member. Ducati abandoned its trellis frame after the 2008 season, introducing the carbon-fiber frame in 2009.
Stoner won seven races on it overall in 2009 and 2010, but the inability of Hayden and Valentino Rossi to extract anywhere near the same performance from the carbon frame in 2011 and 2012 only polished Stoner's mantle as one of the freakishly fast aliens of all time in Grand Prix racing. Rossi's incessant bitching about the carbon-fiber frame after spending his entire career on alloy chassis with Honda and Yamaha finally forced Ducati to switch to an aluminum box frame like its Japanese rivals in late 2011 and 2012.
That bike still didn't work, setting the table for similar futility in 2013.
The lingering question remains about Audi's relationship with Ducati: Does Audi really care about winning with the most evocative brand in MotoGP or was its purchase just a marketing and brand status exercise? Will Audi commit the resources and Teutonic engineering power needed to end this Code Red in Bologna? Or do the answers need to come from the Corse complex in Italy alone?