MotoGP 2014 teams: Ducati

The 2014 season could be a huge one for Ducati, who may even switch to the open class.

Cal Crutchlow Ducati MotoGP 2014
© Photo courtesy of Ducati

After going a whole season without a podium finish for the first time in their history, big change is on the horizon for the Italian factory in MotoGP.

1) Ducati has brought a new general manager to HQ in Bologna, Gigi Dall'Igna, brought across from rivals Aprilia.

2) They've signed British rider Cal Crutchlow to team up with Italian Andrea Dovizioso.

3) What could be the most significant step: they are seriously considering foregoing factory status in favour of competing under the new 'open' rules.

How will this affect Ducati's fortunes in 2014?...

MotoGP-500 GP Victories by Constructors 1949-2013
MotoGP-500 GP Victories by Constructors 1949-2013© Redbull.com / Source: Dorna

Can Gigi Dall'Igna turn Ducati around?

Gigi Dall'Igna comes to Ducati in their most desperate hour of need. After a podium-less 2013, the Italian has been given free rein to do whatever it takes to get the MotoGP team back to the front.

Installed at the end of the 2013 season, Dall'Igna brings years of experience in MotoGP and World Superbikes, where he most recently oversaw Aprilia's titles with Max Biaggi in 2010 and 2012.

It's all part of Audi’s ongoing efforts to improve the team’s racing fortunes after buying up Ducati in 2012.

Cal Crutchlow Ducati MotoGP 2014
Cal Crutchlow: Talking testing with Ducati crew© Photo courtesy of Ducati

Cal Crutchlow: The latest to test his skill on the Ducati

The no-nonsense Brit becomes the most recent man to throw his leg over the Desmosedici for a challenge that has proven to be the toughest career move of many before him.

Ducati haven’t tasted victory since Casey Stoner won the Australian GP in October 2010 and that's despite the efforts of Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso over the past three years.

Crutchlow is under no illusion as to the magnitude of the task that awaits him in 2014, but he likes a challenge.

The limit seems to be a lot more than on the GP13, which is good, and this bike seems to be improving all the time.

- Cal Crutchlow

Andrea Dovizioso Ducati MotoGP 2014
Andrea Dovizioso: Ducati's homegrown Italian© Studio Milgaro / DPPI

Going open for 2014? Dall'Igna's first major decision for Ducati

It's no secret that Ducati are seriously considering forgoing their factory status to take on 'open' for 2014.

The benefits? More fuel for race distance, more engines to last the season and no in-season freeze on engine development. The main sacrifice: use of the control electronics package provided by series organiser Dorna.

For sure the problem that I see with the factory rules is that with five engines, frozen, it is really difficult to develop properly the bike, because you cannot change the mounting on the chassis. You cannot change a lot of things.

- Gigi Dall'Igna

Dall'Igna has said a final decision on whether Crutchlow and Dovizioso race open machinery in 2014 will be taken before the next Sepang test at the end of February.

MotoGP-500cc Constructor World Champions 1949-2013
MotoGP-500cc Constructor World Champions 1949-2013© Redbull.com / Source: Dorna

Ducati fact file

Name: Ducati Team
In MotoGP since: 2003
Based: Borgo Panigale, Bologna, Italy
MotoGP General Manager: Luigi 'Gigi' Dall'Igna
High: 2007 MotoGP World Championship
Low: Podium-less 2013 MotoGP season
Notable former riders: Loris Capirossi, Troy Bayliss, Sete Gibernau, Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi
Most successful rider: Casey Stoner, 2007 World Champion and 23 wins on the Desmosedici
2014 MotoGP machine: Ducati Desmosedici GP14
2014 rider line-up: Andrea Dovizioso (#4) and Cal Crutchlow (#35)