Ducati test riders Franco Battaini and Carlos Checa (who also doubles as reigning World Superbike champion for Althea Ducati) have finally completed the shakedown test of Ducati's brand new Desmosedici GP12, bringing the watertight security lockdown at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain to an end. After Ducati Corse boss Filippo Preziosi described the bike as 90% new, there was massive media interest in the test, but after a mass of rumors emerged from previous Ducati tests, the Bologna factory tightened its grip on the situation. Almost nothing leaked from the tests, despite the best efforts of motorcycle journalists around the world.
All that racing fans had to mull over were a couple of tweets from Carlos Checa - who also tested his 2012 Ducati 1198R - and a few off-the-cuff comments by Ducati CEO Gabriele del Torchio. Speaking to Italian TV, Del Torchio said that the signals from the test were positive, but that it was too early to say anything concrete. That will have to wait for another 12 days, when the bike takes to the track at Sepang, in the hands of factory riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden. Preziosi had warned that the bike will look strikingly similar to the so-called GP Zero, the machine tested by Rossi at Valencia last November. But under the fairings, much has already changed, and various MotoGP photographers will be doing their best to get a spy shot of the bike without the fairing on.
Whether visually different or not, race fans will have to wait for the first photos of the bike from Sepang. Until then, its appearance remains a closely guarded secret, with even the Ducati press release giving nothing away. In less that two weeks' time, much more will be revealed.
Below is the - tantalizingly brief - press release from Ducati on the test at Jerez:
Ducati Test Team complete three-day test session in Jerez
The Ducati Test Team, directed by Technical Director Filippo Preziosi, has completed three days of testing on the Spanish circuit of Jerez de La Frontera, with Carlos Checa and Franco Battaini followed by in the pit garage by Team Manager, Vittoriano Guareschi.
The two riders completed a "shake-down" of the GP12, which will be tested in two weeks by the official riders, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden.
During the three days, in which weather conditions were cold but fortunately dry , the work program was completed without any problems enabling the team to complete all checks in preparation to start the winter tests in Sepang, Malaysia from 31 January until 2 February 2012.