Ducati Desmosedici GP14

Formula One isn't the only international racing series kicking off its 2014 season this month. So too is MotoGP, the top-tier two-wheeled racing championship, with an eighteen-round season kicking off on March 23 in Qatar before heading to Texas next month.

One of the biggest changes being put into effect for this season is a split between two categories within the top MotoGP class. While Honda and Yamaha will duke it out in the Factory category with four bikes each, Ducati has opted to go for the new Open category. While the Factory bikes can map their own ECU software, the Open teams have to use spec software but get more fuel, more engines and can continue to develop their engines over the course of the season – key benefits that Ducati sees as intrinsic to winning in the new era of grand prix motorcycle racing.

As a late off-season change, though, race organizers decided Ducati would run in its own class, called Factory 2, which could see the Italian team lose some of its Open-category advantages, depending on how well the team finishes come the start of the season. Feel free to read more about Factory 2 and its ramifications here.

The Italian team revealed its new Desmosedici GP14 bike – complete with matte livery – at an Audi press conference in Germany on Monday. The bike packs a 1,000cc V4 engine with over 235 horsepower on tap, capable of propelling it to a top speed in excess of 205 miles per hour. With former champions Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi having left Ducati over the course of the past couple of seasons, the new Desmosedici will be campaigned by factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow and by privateers Andrea Iannone and Yonny Hernandez.

There's a whole mess of high-res photos in the gallery above, and if you're a real motorbike racing fanboy, you can scope out the b-roll footage and the technical specifications of the new bike below.

UPDATE: Ducati, or any other Open class team, will only be forced into the Factory 2 category if it starts scoring podium finishes.
Related GalleryDucati Desmosedici GP14
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DUCATI DESMOSEDICI GP14 Technical Specifications

Engine: Liquid - cooled, 90 degree V4 four - stroke, desmodromic DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Capacity: 1,000cc
Maximum power: More than 235hp
Maximum speed: In excess of 330 km/h (205 mph)
Transmission: Ducati Seamless Transmission (DST). Chain final drive
Carburation: Indirect Magneti Marelli elec tronic injection, four throttle bodies with injectors above and below the butterfly valves. Throttles operated by the new EVO 2 TCF (Throttle Control & Feedback) system
Fuel: Shell Racing V-Power
Lubricant: Shell Advance Ultra 4
Ignition: Magneti Marelli
Exhaust: Akrapovic
Final Drive: D.I.D Chain
Frame: Aluminum
Suspension: Öhlins inverted 48mm fork and Öhlins shock absorber, adjustable for preload, new factory evolution damping system
Tyres: Bridgestone 16.5" front and rear
Brakes: Brembo, two 320mm carbon front discs (340mm for Motegi race) with four - piston callipers. Single stainless steel rear disc with two-piston calliper
Dry weight: 160 kg (353 lbs.)