Rossi And Hayden On Changes For Ducati GP12: "We Need To Understand The Way Forward"

It's been an unimaginably tough season for Ducati in 2011. The arrival of Valentino Rossi has served only to prove that the design of the Desmosedici has some fundamental design flaws that only a particular talent can ride around, and the factory Ducatis have spent all this year circulating in mid-pack. Right now, the focus in Bologna has shifted completely towards 2012, with this season being used to gather data to help build next year's bike.

At Indianapolis, both Marlboro Ducati riders confirmed that major changes are on the cards for the Desmosedici for next year, with the current design, now being used by both Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi in the GP11.1, likely to see large-scale modifications.

Speaking to reporters, Rossi acknowledged that the new parts which debuted at Brno had helped, finishing the Czech round much closer to Jorge Lorenzo and the front runners than he has been for some time. The change - a modification to the headstock, including inserts and fork bottoms - had given Rossi a little more feel at the front, but it was still not enough. If he was to be able to fight with Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner for wins, he said, a much bigger step would be needed.

Rossi summed up the bike's good points, and pointed out what the Ducati's weakness is. "The bike has good stability in the rear, especially on entry, the gearbox is not so bad, the engine is quite good, but we need especially the feeling on the front and in turning," Rossi told reporters. "It's always very difficult to understand what's happening at the front, and it looks like we don't have enough grip from the front tire to turn the bike."

A lot was being done to remedy the situation, Rossi emphasized. "We're working very hard for next year. We need to have a clear idea about the bike for next year for the Valencia test at the last race. That's in November so we don't have much time." Even between Valencia and the start of the 2012 season, there was room for improvements to be made, Rossi said. "The bike of Valencia is not the same as the bike at the Qatar race next year. But we need to understand which way forward."

With so much work to do, testing is going to be crucial, Rossi said. But Ducati would not be testing their 1000s after the Misano round, as the factory has not yet produced some of the changed parts that Rossi was hoping to test. "I don't think we will test in Misano because nothing is ready," Rossi told reporters, "But we will try in the next week at some other track with some other parts."

The reason for the wait is that Filippo Preziosi, the engineering genius behind Ducati's MotoGP project, had a number of major changes he wanted to test. "Filippo has three or four different ideas to follow, different configurations of the bike, a small modification, medium modification, big modification," Rossi revealed. But it was not the rider's job to dictate engineering choices. "He [Preziosi - Ed.] has to decide. He's the man, I'm the rider, I wait to see what he will bring for the next time, after my part is to be precise and give the right direction for the next evolution for next year. "

Neither Rossi nor Hayden were keen to talk about exactly what changes were being planned. "There's a lot of talk going on, I'm sure you've all heard the rumors," the American said at Indianapolis. "I'm not asking questions, I don't need to know, though I hear a few things here and there. I'm probably not going to ride it again until Valencia. No big changes engine-wise."

The engine was not the Ducati's biggest problem, Rossi agreed. "What I see from the track, our engine is not so bad. Unfortunately, we lost the advantage that Ducati had in in that area the last years, but I think the bike is not more slow from the engine." But the limited resources that Ducati has at its disposal were the biggest problem that the Bologna factory faced, Rossi said. "You know in our situation, which is quite bad, we are Ducati so we are not as big as Honda and Yamaha, we have to concentrate on the area which gives the most disadvantage at the end of the lap, and right now that's not the engine. So before, we have to fix the bigger problem, and once we fix the bigger problem, we can work on the engine."

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Comments

After countless riders' CVs and psyche have been destroyed by this squad, and the factory Ducati is losing by 30 seconds per round, at what point does Filippo stop becoming the engineering genius behind the Duc? I understand that he built the bike and had it on the grid in close to under a year (or something like that), but give me a break.

In Americia, with our terrible legal system, these riders would band their union together and file a class action lawsuit against them for killing their careers...

Calling him the genius behind the bike but not assigning blame for the results is also like watching the American media close it eyes while Obama flushes our country while still insisting he walks on water.

Total votes: 91

If you're going to include politics in the discussion, then watch out.
Obama is a bit like Vali at the minute, great rider but on a crap horse. And in this complex drama, Ducati is like Wall Street......built a complex system and everything seemed to go OK for a while but now that things have stopped working they can't work out how to fix it.
Your analogy is akin to blaming Vali for the bike he got given.

Total votes: 88

Vale, not Vali ;) Sorry, could not resist!

Total votes: 87

"Calling him the genius behind the bike but not assigning blame for the results is also like watching the American media close it eyes while Obama flushes our country while still insisting he walks on water."

or like closing your eyes and keep denying that the horrible situation in which America finds itself in is clearly the consequence of the Bush administration.

Total votes: 62

To give Rossi credit - publicly at least - he still has his chin up. His bottom lip may be quivering a little but I had expected some proper Latin dummy spitting by now. Then again so he should remain positive, it sounds like Corse are moving heaven and earth (as we all knew would happen this year) to try and find a solution to their front end feel problem.

I think we all know what the big modification is and I truly hope they do not go down this path. Already the factory has found a good small step, and I have confidence in Preziosi & co designing the final piece of the unique C-F jigsaw. After all we are only taking about getting a little more feeling to the rider in order for him to push with confidence. The bike can do it, this is proven. For sure the 2012 tyres will assist here too.

Ducati are only millimetres away from having a machine the equal of the M1 or RCV, not a million miles.

Hayden is such a P.C fence sitter. I rarely read anything interesting coming from him. "I'm not asking questions, I don't need to know?" What's that all about? As a 30 year old vastly experienced WC rider with pride I thought he'd be taking a very keen interest in the direction the factory is taking. Then again it sounds like he has abdicated all development responsibilities to Rossi. Either because this was always going to be the way once Rossi came on board or Hayden is not so good at conveying feedback. More the former probably. Hayden needs to stand up, stomp his feet a little and be counted more. what's the old saying about nice guys always coming last?

Total votes: 75

Ducati are trying to take penalties with a rugby ball against a host of teams using a football. They have now branded said rugby ball because it is different and now they are changing the laces on their boot to try to get it to mimic a football.. Whether the right lace is just round the corner or not(Isuspect not after 4 years of different laces) it will never be a football and by the time they find the laces the other teams will have a new ball..

Total votes: 82

Although I am sharing your fears, I can't see Preziosi turning 100% conventional.

"Filippo has three or four different ideas to follow, different configurations of the bike, a small modification, medium modification, big modification," Rossi revealed.

Maybe the "big modification" is the aluminium deltabox they are rumored to have designed, and paid Suter or FTR for manufacturing it. But is this really anything more than for comparison purposes, with the much more interesting "medium modification".
I am expecting something big around the Ducati garage over the next weeks. Really :)

Total votes: 79

re: "what's the old saying about nice guys always coming last?"

that old saying needs to be updated to reflect the realitys of motorbike racing. both nice guys and backmarkers guys STILL deposit huge paychecks.

Total votes: 69

But Ducati would not be testing their 1000s after the Misano round, as the factory has not yet produced some of the changed parts that Rossi was hoping to test.

I'm getting more and more the feeling Ducati tries to avoid a direct comparison with the 2012 Honda's and Yamaha's in order to escape another debacle that might evaporade the financial ground they're running their MotoGP project upon. It appears to me that they're trying to win time, hoping that some "radical" change in their design will save them in the end.

We are allready in the 2nd half of this season and if the "big step" forward doesn't appear soon I expect their whole MotoGP effort in big troubles.

Total votes: 79

First they said they would not participate at the Mugello test, as a consequence Honda and Yamaha said they would not test their 1000s neither, first "1000" official test postponed to Brno.

Then at Brno, while Yamaha unwraps the veil on its 1000 and Pedrosa gets his first shot at the 2012 bike, Ducati sticks to the 800.

Now Ducati is not going to test at Misano along the other 1000s but instead Rossi is going to test it a couple of days earlier at a different track.

It certainly seems as they're doing anything they can to avoid any comparison before the Valencia post-race test in November.

Total votes: 82

The Ducati squad must be looking forward to getting to Phillip Island, a track at which they have been dominant for a number of years now. Whatever the design 'flaws' are, they clearly make the Ducati THE bike to be on at Phillip Island. Given the brands past history at the track, team management must be expecting a win or at least a podium. I am sure that would boost morale and indicate that the development of the GP 12 is well on track.

Total votes: 85

"The Ducati squad must be looking forward to getting to Phillip Island, a track at which they have been dominant for a number of years now."
You meant "Casey Stoner", right?

Granted Capirex was also on the podium in 2007 but since then at Philip Island the 2nd best Ducati rider was 11th (+27s) in 2008, 9th (+54s) in 2009 and 4th (+18s) in 2010.
Not much to call it a Ducati track.

However 3 poles and 4 wins in 4 years definitely make it a Casey Stoner track.

Total votes: 70

that was our pill popping friend having a bit of a wind up dig. It's abundantly clear to all concerned that Stoner could win despite the GP16. We still wait to see Rossi perform the same trick especially with all the resource he's managed to have thrown at the thing which has frankly given him a much better platform than Stoner ever had.

Total votes: 90

I think if I were Ducati I'd lease some motors to a satellite team and let them develope a standard aluminum chassis.

Though it most likely would'nt be good for a factory bike to be beat by a satellite team.

Things don't look well for big red at this time.

Total votes: 79

re: "Things don't look well for big red at this time."

small red...

Total votes: 72

re: "Whatever the design 'flaws' are, they clearly make the Ducati THE bike to be on at Phillip Island. Given the brands past history at the track, team management must be expecting a win or at least a podium."

maybe if he were on the older spec GP10...? not holding my breath on any of this revised GP1X stuff.

Total votes: 78