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Ducati and Lenovo extend long-standing MotoGP technology deal

Ducati and Lenovo have signed another three-year deal that will see the MotoGP team dig deeper into its technology partner's product portfolio in pursuit of performance gains on the track by embracing virtual desktops, HPC and edge computing

The Ducati MotoGP has signed a three-year deal with long-standing technology partner Lenovo that will see the team double-down on its use of data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and edge computing devices to improve the performance of its riders during the 2021 racing season.

The deal capitalises on the work the two firms have already done since Ducati first signed up Lenovo as a technology partner in 2018, which has focused on equipping the MotoGP team with PCs, tablets and edge computing devices to collect and analyse race data and inform the design and configuration of its bikes.

To this point, Ducati engineers are known to use Lenovo’s compact ThinkSystem SE350 edge server device to process and analyse data generated during races and training sessions, which can then be used to inform its riders’ racing strategies over the course of the season.

Ducati engineers also use Lenovo ThinkPad P1 mobile workstation laptops to process data directly from the bikes, which is then used away from the track to run simulations about different possible bike setups in the hope of improving their performance.

Furthermore, Lenovo has also deployed a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster based on its server technology that enables Ducati’s technicians to run high-speed aerodynamic and fluid dynamic modelling workloads so they can design new bikes at pace, while adhering to the sport's latest safety and quality assurance standards.

The renewed technology partnership will see the two firms deepen their use of data, while introducing technologies that will bolster the Ducati team’s ability to collaborate and work remotely, through the development and deployment of a virtual desktop infrastructure.

The two firms are also exploring the potential for augmented and virtual reality technologies to be incorporated into the design process for its motorbikes in future.

Such is the strength of the technology tie-up between the two firms, they have also confirmed the Ducati MotoGP team will rebrand and race under the Ducati Lenovo Team name for the foreseeable future.

During an online Q&A with the press to discuss the extension of its partnership, Luca Rossi, senior vice-president of Lenovo, credited the firm’s shared values as a key factor in their joint decision to forge even closer technological ties.

“We have been learning [through the partnership] that most of the values between Lenovo and Ducati are shared: performance, speed, the quality design, the reliability, and – clearly – innovation,” said Rossi.

“The world is changing, and the technology is arriving everywhere and in the [world of] MotoGP the best is yet to come.”

Expanding on this point, Rossi cited figures that suggest the global motorsports market is on course to continue growing by 10% annually through to 2025, driven in no small part by data analytics and other related technologies, and Lenovo is banking on its work with Ducati to tap into this growth.  

“It was important for us to find a company as iconic as Ducati, poised to win and [who we can] help win with our technology. There are already many examples in AR/VR, in our datacentre with artificial intelligence and our PCs,” he said.

“These are all technological areas where Lenovo can contribute to Ducati, and we also believe we can learn [from them], and [Ducati] will be for sure learning for us.”

The first race of the 2021 MotoGP season is due to take place in Qatar on 28 March 2021.

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