By Denis Nalon – Some say a winning bike makes all the difference. Some say it’s all about control. But one thing is certain: technology has become a huge winning factor, shaving pivotal milliseconds off lap times.

I was able to experience the rush of racing last weekend at the MotoGP Championship that started at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, a 5,3km daylight illuminated circuit about 30km North of Doha.

Since Friday morning, teams began starting their engines to get the best lap time and setting up the bikes in four free practice sessions and two qualifying sessions.

Data are increasingly influencing these competitions: in recent years, MotoGP has become an incredible piece of technology, bringing many riders to complain about this “invasion” without limits of driving aid.

At the heart of this evolution, telemetry and data analysis allow teams to “shape” the bike around the rider while managing all the electronic parameters related to the mapping of the engine to enable riding through wire, controlling traction, and engaging the engine brake, etc.

Today, a MotoGP bike has more than 60 sensors that constantly log different parameters: every free practice each of the four bikes available at the Ducati Team box on average collects more than 8Gb of data that are downloaded at every garage stop through a cable connected to the ECUs setup software.

Riders describe their feelings in every point of the circuit, and here is where the magic happens: a new setup is deployed in minutes and uploaded in the bike so that the rider can push stronger at every turn to get even better performances for the time attack.

Unlike Formula 1 and according to the MotoGP Regulation, for security reasons during practices, qualifying, and races, bikes cannot be connected and communication with the box is not allowed. And so, once the bike leaves the garage it is all in the rider’s hands.

At Ducati Team, over 20 people relentlessly test the best compromise to perform in circuit and rely on data to provide the best setup.

Secure Data Archive and fast access for analysis is fundamental because it is important to access historical data quickly from latest year’s races in order to run tests to take better decisions.

Starting this year, NetApp is helping Ducati MotoGP team to improve performance and security though modernized data management solutions powered by Flash technology on and off the track.

The win of the first race in Qatar was an excellent start for Andrea Dovizioso and the Ducati Team, who dominated the practices and won after an incredible vamp after turning 11th at the first turn.

A millisecond really counts in MotoGP as five riders obtained their best time from fourth to ninthpositions in only 0,022-inches. Ducati won by just 0,027-inches at the finish line.

With Ducati, we are ready to change the world of racing with Data.

Denis Nalon is the marketing manager at NetApp Italy

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