How a Virtual Garage is Enabling Real Wins for Ducati

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Restrictions made necessary by the global pandemic created challenges in MotoGP, with headcount restrictions throwing a wrench in the typical flow of things on the circuit. Ducati rose to the challenge with the elegant solution of its Virtual Garage, enabled by title partner Lenovo’s technology – so engineers can make adjustments from Bologna to Brno, safely.

2020 was a year when disruptions to the status quo reshaped the world – and the world of motorsports was no exception.

Delayed by the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MotoGP season started at Jerez in July rather than the usual March. And when it did, there were new restrictions to consider, like mobility restrictions and caps on the number of people allowed to travel to races.

With the help of technology from title partner Lenovo, the Ducati team did what it does best – use creative solutions to take the lead and imagine a new normal.

In this case, that meant creating a Virtual Garage, which allowed information to flow effortlessly from the track to headquarters in Bologna and back even as the number of people allowed at the circuits was strictly limited. When slowing down and standing still aren’t options, there’s only one thing to do: Adapt.

“Thanks to the Lenovo technology, we were able to create the Virtual Garage. Basically, our engineers who could not join us on the race track, they were in the racing department connected live with the circuit, and they were able to work in a similar way to what they would have been able to do if they were present at the track,” said Paolo Ciabatti, Sporting Director, Ducati Corse.

The Virtual Garage is the latest development in an ongoing relationship built around innovation, one that will be expanded on through the use of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure so engineers can access powerful computing resources from anywhere.

That’s critical, because data is vital to success in today’s MotoGP.

“Data is one of the most important things for us because we process, through the sensors, so much information,” said Ciabatti.

More than 50 sensors all over each Ducati MotoGP bike track everything from speed to grip to acceleration. ThinkSystem™ SE350 edge servers are powerful enough to analyse this flood of data at its source, so it can be transformed into actionable insights that pave the way to winning.

“I think also, all the problems which were created by the pandemic, they have also taught us to work in a different way.

Obviously being connected and being able to process data quickly with a powerful machine through powerful servers, is a key to success – especially nowadays when the environment has changed,” said Ciabatti.

These changes have strengthened Ducati. Even when the original problems are gone, the solutions are here to stay. It’s a world where the flow of data isn’t bounded by walls or borders. Logistical limitations are no match for the forces of collaboration  – for a more resilient team.

“This is something that will stay for the future because we’re able to use our workforce in a more efficient way, the same way as if everybody were present. This is thanks to Lenovo technology and the support we got.” said Ciabatti. “It has given us extra strength.”

Everyone agrees: At the end of the day, it’s the rider who makes or breaks a race. But now the support that helps them thrive can come from anywhere.

“I am surprised at what we have done in so little time. For sure, this is the future. So I’m quite confident,” said Gabriele Conti, Electronic Systems Manager, Ducati. “But usually in our world, if you say you are happy, the rider thinks that you aren’t pushing. So we are not happy. We want to push more.”

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