29 Aug 2012

MotoGP - Rossi completes Ducati Misano test, new frame for San Marino

In the absence of Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi has been the sole rider at a private two day Ducati test at the Misano track in northern Italy.

Rossi completed 80 laps working on chassis updates that he had first tried during the post race test at Mugello on July15th.  Amongst the updates tested were a new frame and swingarm, which will be available for the next race - also at Misano.

The engine was moved around in the frame during the test.  Technicians back at the Ducati factory in Bologna were being asked to redesign and evaluate component locations and give feedback on how they performed with each other.  We understand that this is to evaluate the effects of centre of gravity and balance caused by the engine positioning.

Ducati's plan is to have a frame which will be flexible enough so the engine and components can be moved around with relative ease - as well as altering the wheelbase with fore aft and movement of both wheels.  All of this is relative.  The movements are small but components, such as the oil tank, need to be moved to accommodate this flexibility.  And when such major components are shifted around sensors and cabling have to be altered too.

Meanwhile, Nicky Hayden checked in from the United States, reporting that his recovery is proceeding according to plan for an anticipated return at the San Marino Grand Prix.

Valentino Rossi had to say this of the test: “We carried out a series of tests with the chassis, and the results were interesting, though they still have to be checked against the other riders.  We also worked on the bike’s setup, with the goal of trying to limit the drop in performance that we usually suffer after some laps, as the tyres wear. We had some promising signs there as well, and we’ll check them again in a race context.

Nicky Hayden said: "It was pretty tough to be home while my rivals were racing, and testing is also something that I hated missing, as we had some parts that we could possibly use this year.  Everything else is good news though. Bones don’t heal in ten days, but the swelling is down in my hand, and the feeling is much better with both that and my head. Everything’s right on schedule, and I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike.”

Filippo Preziosi (Ducati's General Director of MotoGP) said: “Over these two days with Valentino, we focused on chassis testing.  Based on the feedback he provided, we’ll bring a new frame and a new swingarm to the next race. In the meantime, the Corse department will continue working according to the development plan that was established following the June test at Aragon. Over the remainder of the season, the Test Team and the factory riders will have the opportunity to try further chassis evolutions, which are currently being produced.”

Of course Valentino Rossi won't be around to fully appreciate the frame changes, which are mainly being made to benefit the 2013 bike, but it seems Ducati are fully focussed on making the bike a more rider friendly proposition for next year.