"Back to Basics" with Claudio Domenicali
Claudio Domenicali’s response for all the bloggers on Desmoblog:
I waited a few days before writing this as I thought it was best to reflect on all the posts. I won’t hide the fact that you’re pretty ‘productive’ when it comes to posting - Gabriele’s last efforts have generated some 640 reply posts so far - and since I wanted to read each and every one of them personally, well, finding the time to do so was no easy matter. But I got there in the end!
Some sort of initial overview on our current product development philosophy might be needed here, as there seem to be a few things that need clarifying. It’s likely that not all of you are aware that prior to the end of 2004, I only dealt with racing and had nothing to do with product development. Then, Federico (Minoli, Editor’s note) asked me to get involved in product development and, subsequently, production.
The first thing I did, in late 2004, was to bring our product development strategy into sharper focus. All the right elements were there, of course, it’s just that they had become a bit, how shall we say, blurred. I even gave the philosophy a name – a name designed to sweep away any doubts about its contents.
The philosophy is called ‘Back to Basics’.
So what does ‘Back to Basics’ mean? It means putting the key brand characteristics – design, quality of finish, performance, riding enjoyment, braking etc – right at the centre of new product development.
Riding enjoyment means lightweight motorcycles. Weight is something of an obsession for us.
On the design side we’ve drawn up a formal brief, which has also been given a name: ‘Reduce to the Max’.
‘Reduce to the Max’ means that product design must comply with certain characteristics. It must be ‘authentic’, only ‘real’ details must be present, so, for example, imitation carbon fibre is out. Essential, so anything unnecessary is banned. Compact, not only in terms of dimensions but also, and above all, image-wise. The bike should even look light.
The ‘beautiful, simple and top-class’ approach is an essential element of strategy. So much so, in fact, that design and fit-and-finish are of prime importance.
Developing products according to ‘Back to Basics’ and motorcycles with ‘Reduce to the Max’ design is our gospel and dictates the way everyone in product development works.
When you take a close-up look at a 1098 Tricolore with its rich paintwork, forged aluminium rims, Monobloc brake calipers, digital instrument panel - identical to the one on the GP7 - a fabricated single-sided aluminium rear swingarm that looks like a sculpture, 160hp and weighing 171kg, well, it’s evident that it’s a well thought-out piece of machinery, designed, built and assembled in a factory where the personnel love nothing more than great-looking, simple, prestige motorcycles.
All the motorcycles launched since implementation of the ‘Back to Basics’ philosophy comply with it Or, at least, we’ve done our utmost to make sure they do. So that means the 1098, the Hypermotard, the D16RR, and now the Monster 696, the 848 and the 1098 R.
Click here to see the rest.