Has Ducati adapted holeshot device into active ride height tech?

The famous holeshot device on the Ducati MotoGP bikes aren't just being used as a starting aid according to new footage...

Jack Miller - Pramac Ducati

Having made teams sit up and take notice a year ago with its clever ‘holeshot’ starting device off the line, it seems Ducati has taken the tech a step further in 2020 by adapting it to adjust ride height during a race.

The Ducati system works by activating a switch on the run to the line, which lowers and locks the rear suspension and ensures a cleaner jump off the line with less chance of a wheelie. It then deactivates itself when the brake it applied into the first corner.

The Italian firm has used the system since the end of 2018 – though it was only spotted in 2019 – and has led to Aprilia to introduce its own device, while Yamaha and Suzuki are set to debut theirs in the 2020 season.

However, it appears Ducati is taking the tech one step further by giving the system a purpose in race conditions after Jack Miller’s Pramac Ducati was spotted lowering at the rear on the exit of corners during the Qatar MotoGP test, while images of the bike’s controls reveal new switches have indeed appeared on it.

By being able to lower the centre of gravity of the bike the device is likely to make the Ducati more stable and quicker out of corners, while the reduced drag should ensure it slightly quicker on the straights to.

Eagle-eyed engineers have been keeping a close eye on Ducati ever since Alex Rins speculated the holeshot device was being tested as an active in-race aid, but the team itself was remaining coy about the innovation.

“This [ride height adjustment] is something people are speaking about…. It's something that maybe could be on the bike,” revealed Davide Tardozzi.

"As usual, Ducati has innovation. We are proud to say that in the last at least five years we bring all the innovation on the bikes in MotoGP."

Miller has since confirmed everyone's suspicions, adding he has been utilising it since October.

Despite the strict regulations, the device doesn’t break any rules as it stands, with Tardozzi saying the team has been open with series technical director Danny Aldridge from the start.

It’s taken nearly a year for rivals to catch up on the holeshot device, but it seems they will all be starting the season chasing yet another Ducati innovation.