10 Years of Racing Together: Shell and Ducati celebrate a decade of technical partnership
- Lester Dizon () - November 18, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Racing in the Motorcycle Grand Prix or MotoGP has become increasingly challenging as the teams become more competitive and the racing regulations demand more from the men – the riders, the technicians and the team principals – and their machines. Pilipinas Shell’s Vanessa Ejercito and Jay Mujar took yours truly and several select members of the Philippine media along with Shell’s top local lubricants dealers to the Sepang Racing Circuit in Malaysia last October 22 to 25 to witness the competitiveness of the sport during the aptly 2009 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

“The penultimate round of the 2009 FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) MotoGP World Championship in Malaysia is an exciting annual event for the whole of Asia,” Tanmay Jaswal, Global Marketing Manager for Shell Advance, stated. “We are extremely pleased and very proud to support the 2009 Malaysian MotoGP because it also marks the 10th anniversary of the successful technical partnership between Shell and Ducati Corse in motorcycle racing.”

Powering Ducati Corse

Shell has worked with Ducati Corse, the Italian motorcycle brand’s racing team, in close technical partnership since 1999, which began with the World Superbike Championship and which continued to the MotoGP Championship in 2003.  The technical partnership with Ducati is extensive, covering technical support and consultation, product development and provision of Shell V-Power race fuel and Shell Advance race lubricant.

Shell Advance race oil plays an integral role in powering and protecting the Ducati Desmosedici GP9 V4 engines in MotoGP. “The Shell Advance race lubricant has three main functions,” explained Shell Lubricant Development Expert and Ducati Project Manager, Michael Knaak. “First, it is designed to reduce friction in order to increase power. Second, it maintains engine and gearbox performance by protecting it from wear. Third, and perhaps most important, it has to protect all the moving parts, to ensure that the bike is reliable and reaches the finish line, ideally in first place!”

From the Race Track to the Streets

“Reliability will be particularly important considering this year’s new multiple race engine regulation”, Knaak continued. “A new FIM regulation states that for the final seven races of the 2009 MotoGP season, each rider may only use five engines. This places an even stronger emphasis on engine life and protection for the GP9. Shell Advance plays a pivotal role in protecting the Desmosedici GP9 engine and maintaining its performance over multiple races.”

Knaak said that 12 scientists and engineers will spend around 2500 hours contributing to the Shell technical partnership with Ducati. The Shell scientists start with a pre-candidate oil at their laboratory in Hamburg to produce a Shell Advance race oil candidate, which they will develop and optimize to deliver maximum performance and liberate new power while keeping the engine clean. The oil is then passed to Ducati Corse for testing on the Borgo Panigale test bench, and race oil candidates are sent to the team for testing on the track.

“Only when Shell and Ducati Corse’s engineers are fully satisfied with an oil candidate, will the new blend be used in MotoGP competition. All of these oil characteristics will make its way into Shell Advance motorcycle oil for the road bikes, which are developed from what we learned on track, racing with Ducati.”

Successful Partnership

The Shell technical partnership with Ducati has become one of the most successful in motor sport, with seven World Titles and over 150 wins collected in MotoGP and the World Superbike Championship. At the core of this relationship lies a common passion for technology: Ducati develops its legendary race and road bikes while Shell’s commitment to innovation through motor sport is an integral part of its extensive research and development program, which is essential to making better lubricants and fuels for its customers all over the world.

Before Race Day Sunday, the Ducati Corse team enjoyed a go-kart race at the Sepang go-kart course with members of the international media where Livio Suppo, Ducati Corse Team Manager bested his Italian colleagues while yours truly bested other Asian journalist and was awarded a Shell-Ducati Corse T-shirt signed by Ducati Team rider and 2007 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner. The 2009 Shell Advance Malaysian MotoGP became even more memorable and successful for Shell when Stoner won the rain-soaked race 16 seconds ahead of the 2nd place Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa and when Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi clinched the 2009 World Championship Title, his 9th world title with one from 125cc, one from 250cc and seven from MotoGP.

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