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April 26, 2015

Back to Winning Ways: The Shell-Ducati Technology Partnership

Photos by Ulysses Ang
DOHA, QATAR—Shell’s Technical Partnership with Ducati Corse came full circle as both of its riders arrived home in the winner’s circle at the 2015 Qatar MotoGP race at the Losail International Circuit. After snatching pole position, Andrea Dovizioso almost won the race if not for a brave charge by Valentino Rossi. Team mate Andrea Iannone finished in third place.

Although the team expected a win after dominating much of practice and qualifying, the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 exhibited the fastest straight line speed owing to the team’s efforts over the winter including those from fuels and lubricants partner, Shell.

Shell’s partnership with Ducati Corse began in 1999, when the fuel and lubricants company supported Ducati in the Superbike World Championship (SBK). The partnership resulted in one of the strongest and most successful ones in the motorcycle world with six World Superbike Riders’ Titles and nine Manufacturers’ Titles. In 2003, when Ducati moved over to the MotoGP World Championship, Shell followed them there. The winning combination followed with a clean sweep of the Moto GP Riders’, Teams’, and Constructors’ World Championship titles in 2007.

“As we enter a 17th successive season of technical collaboration together, Ducati and Shell are working more closely than ever to get the best out of the Shell Advance lubricants and Shell V-Power fuels that power our Desmosedici GP15 machines. Having such a prestigious and experienced partner as Shell alongside us is vitally important both on and off the track,” said Mr. Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Sporting Director & MotoGP Project Director.

Shell’s involvement in the highest form of motorcycle racing has helped them develop the new Shell Advance lubricant and Shell V-Power fuel. The transfer of knowledge gained from the track to Shell’s products is central to its partnership with Ducati since MotoGP provides the most extreme test bed for Shell’s products.

In fact, scientists from Shell’s Technology Centre in Hamburg, Germany regularly visits the Ducati factory in Bologna, Italy to ensure that the lubricants and fuels are optimized for power and protect the Ducati engines during a MotoGP race. A rigorous testing program runs all year round with samples from the races analyzed back at laboratories to ensure constant development. The fuels and lubricants developed by Shell must not only meet the sporting regulations but also match the exacting requirements of the Ducati MotoGP team itself.

An example of this track to road technology transfer is seen in the new Shell Advance Ultra with PurePlus Technology. Unlike other lubricants which are refined from crude oil, Shell uses a revolutionary gas-to-liquid (GTL) process that converts natural gas into a crystal-clear base oil with virtually none of the impurities found in crude oil.

This base oil is then combined with Shell’s Active Cleansing Technology additives that create a one-of-a-kind synthetic motorcycle oil. The resulting motorcycle oil has enhanced viscosity, lower friction, and volatility performance. This ensures no loss of power, improved fuel efficiency, and increased oil durability even after a long period of use.

“The underlying principle for our revolutionary Gas-to-Liquid or GTL-oil based lubricants is simple: a clean engine is the first step to better performance and an optimized, more efficient power transmission. Shell Advance Ultra with PurePlus Technology helps ensure that engines are able to consistently perform at their peak until the next oil change and maintaining power and protection on every ride. Be it a mighty Ducati Desmosedici GP15 MotoGP bike, our fleet of magnificent Honda Moto3 machines competing in the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup or the motorcycles which our customers use to get around every day; Shell Advance Ultra with PurePlus Technology is designed to ensure that the motorcycle stays powerful, rides for longer and goes further between oil changes,” said Mr. Kar-Tai Koh, Shell Advance Global Brand Manager.

It’s all the more fitting that this milestone in the Shell-Ducati Corse partnership happened in Qatar which is home to the Shell Pearl GTL Plant—the biggest gas-to-liquid facility of its kind in the world, which produces the base oil to the tune of 1 million tons per year.

Shell Advance Ultra with PurePlus Technology is the crowning achievement of a 40-year journey. During this time, they have taken their proven expertise from the track to produce new products for the road and vice-versa. Shell’s motorsport programs ensure that its lubricants, with race-proven credentials, reach the pinnacle of development and can be further developed to benefit the everyday motorcycle rider.

“The Qatar MotoGP weekend presents a unique opportunity to tell the story of our new generation lubricants with Shell PurePlus Technology. After 40 years of research and development, it is really exciting to be able to show Shell’s revolutionary gas-to-liquid process in action on the roads and on the track. One of the most important elements to the health of a motorcycle engine is that it must be clean. The new Shell Advance Ultra with PurePlus Technology has been proven in extensive market testing to deliver our highest level of cleanliness, aiding performance and protection. We are extremely excited to be able to see this revolutionary motorcycle oil at work under extreme conditions such as the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup here in Qatar, proving that our products can deal with the toughest conditions without letting us down,” said Mr. Andrew Greenall, Project Leader, Shell Motorsport Lubricant Development.

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