The Bike That Won Everything: Riding Ducati’s Insane Desmosedici GP22
"The Sixth Lap I Did While Struggling to Talk..."
Simon Crafer aboard the insane 2022 Desmosedici GP22. Media sourced from Simon Crafer's Youtube video recount of the event.
It’s not often that you get a shot at riding what can be considered the world’s best MotoGP motorcycle; turns out there are a few hefty perks to being a pitlane reporter, as former Grand Prix and WSBK racer Simon Crafer found out recently.
With half a dozen laps and a helluva vibe, that legacy now renders a breathless and inspired Crafer for the retelling on AMN.
“Remembering my first experience of a MotoGP bike when I rode the KTM RC16, I avoided using the low rpm that I would normally use on a production motorcycle when taking off in order to be nice to the clutch,” recounts Crafer.
“The timing of the valves, etc., on a MotoGP engine, are set to be most efficient in the rpm ranges used when racing – they simply won’t run at low rpm, the engine judders and ‘bunny hops’.”
“I nailed the take off and might have felt pleased with myself if I wasn’t so busy thinking that I had just experienced the most perfect clutch feel of my life! I did not expect to notice something like that.”
The first lead involved dragging and pumping the carbon brakes (they’re useless if cold, and the bite spikes when they’re set to go – a difference that can be understandably weird if you’re not expecting it).
“…at this point all my focus is on trying to understand the feel of the tyres through the response of the suspension, chassis and feel of the throttle, because crashing this wonderful piece of machinery is not an option.”
Once the bike is up and about, handling is astoundingly agile, yet steady – an anomaly in Crafer’s previous experiences on the professional track.
“[the responsiveness is] not twitchy at all, quite the opposite. Stable, but also responsive. Not something I’d previously felt simultaneously, because bike setups usually create one or the other.”
More feedback on the straightaway, and the machine’s unique personality – her torque curve, throttle connection, behavior in a lean, wheel contact and wheelie control – were all mapped out clearer, and the next laps brought confidence, as well as an accidental wheelie and a particularly surprising revelation.
“I don’t understand how the rear stayed so perfectly in line while off the ground…somehow the rear wheel speed matched perfectly with the surface so I felt no change, no rear wheel slide or stepping out. I could then push on the right handlebar to enter the turn on the line I’d wanted with the same brake pressure – how the hell did the Ducati GP22 do that?!”
With the final synopses of the day, came Crafer’s final thoughts. Spoiler; they’re a wee bit prejudiced…*wink*
“I knew the GP22 was going to be good, but I did not expect it to be that good,” concludes Crafer.
“It is the first motorcycle I’ve ever ridden on track that I did not want to change a single thing on – it was better than me in every area.”
“A true Masterpiece.”
If you ever get your caboose off to Ducati’s Island Experience, odds are you’ll see this beautiful machine, along with some iconic faces that might even answer some questions you have about the thing.
What do you think? Be sure to let us know in the comments below; meantime, subscribe for more updates for our twice-weekly newsletter, hit that membership button if you’re into a more premium experience sans ads, and as always – stay safe on the twisties.