Ducati, Shell to work on sustainable fuels, agree MotoGP extension to 2027

An announcement has been made confirming the continuation of the partnership between Ducati and Shell as MotoGP heads towards sustainable fuels.

Francesco Bagnaia, 2023 MotoGP Portimao Test. - Gold and Goose

Ducati has announced an extension of its partnership with oil giant Shell, ahead of MotoGP’s transition to non-fossil fuels, which begins in the 2024 season. 

The extension of the agreement confirms Ducati’s partnership with Shell will last until at least 2027, when MotoGP’s fuel is set to become 100% non-fossil, with a first step towards non-fossil coming in 2024 with the introduction of E40 (40% non-fossil) fuel.

By 2027, Shell will have developed non-fossil fuels at the highest level of racing on both two and four wheels, thanks to its involvement with Ducati in MotoGP and WorldSBK, and its F1 programme where it supplies Ferrari. 

(Shell also sponsors the factory Hyundai team in the World Rally Championship, which has used 100% non-fossil fuels since it introduced hybrid Rally1 cars in 2022, but as the WRC uses a single fuel supplier for the whole field, that being P1 Fuels, the partnership there between Hyundai and Shell is for lubricants, rather than fuel.)

It is unsurprising to see Ducati and Shell continue their partnership, which began in World Superbikes in 1999, although the press release from Ducati does describe the 100% non-fossil target for 2027 as “ambitious,” which is undoubtedly true, although it also perhaps hints at some scepticism over the feasibility of said target on the side of the Bologna brand. 

Ducati also says that it will work with Shell “to explore ways in which the collaboration can further the development of electric drivetrains in electric motorcycles for future use, both on and off the racetrack.” 

Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Sporting Director, said: “It gives us great satisfaction to announce the extension of Ducati’s multi-year agreement with Shell until 2027. Last year was the most successful season ever for Ducati Corse since the start of our fuels and lubricants Technical Partnership with Shell in 1999, and we are delighted to be able to enter a third decade of collaboration with them. 

“It is also thanks to the vital contribution of technically advanced partners like Shell that Ducati is able to achieve success in such technically challenging championships like MotoGP and WorldSBK, where every little performance detail counts. With this strong support behind us, we are confident that we can continue to obtain excellent results in the future.”

Sabrina Qu, Vice President Global Lubricants Marketing at Shell, said: “The extension of our Technical Partnership with Ducati until 2027 signals our commitment to the Ducati Corse team to provide them with technical support as MotoGP moves towards a more sustainable future. 

“Motorsport is the ultimate testbed for our technology, providing Shell with valuable insights into the performance of our products, whilst allowing them to test formulations to match the future sustainability ambitions of both Shell and Ducati. This in turn will continue to benefit Shell Advance and Ducati customers around the world, both on the track and on the road, as the Technical Partnership continues to develop.”

The 2023 MotoGP season begins this weekend at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao this weekend for the Portuguese Grand Prix; where Francesco Bagnaia will begin the defence of the world title he won last year with Ducati at the circuit where he almost ended his 2022 campaign with a crash in qualifying during last year's edition of the Portuguese GP.

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