Scott Jones, Ducati Corse
It's wet in Utah. And to demonstrate exactly how wet, Scott Jones sent us a few photos illustrating the situation.
As reported earlier this morning, Valentino Rossi spent the day at Mugello testing the 2012 Ducati Desmosedici GP12. The test had been laid on for Rossi to check the progress of next season's Ducati MotoGP machine, and test the updates made to the machine at the request of himself and teammate Nicky Hayden after the Jerez test back in April. Rossi also got to try out the new surface at Mugello, which he greatly approved of. Looking at the photos from the test (shown below), Mugello's brand new grandstand is also clearly visible, a marked improvement from the old grandstand at the circuit.
When Valentino Rossi broke his leg at Mugello last June, he was forced to miss the next three races, the first time he had done so since entering the World Championship back in 1996. The first of the races Rossi missed was the British Grand Prix at the newly restored venue of Silverstone, the track layout modified especially for the return of MotoGP. As a result of that accident, Rossi was the only rider left on the grid who had not ridden at the Silverstone circuit, and as the track counted as new on the calendar, the Italian was still entitled to test there to learn the layout.
Rossi's problem, of course, was that he could not simply turn up at a track day to learn the circuit, as Randy de Puniet did. While De Puniet is a big enough of a star to attract a far bit of attention at a track day, Valentino Rossi's celebrity means that he would never get a clear lap, or probably even a chance to go out and ride.
If you follow my Facebook page, you may have seen a similar image a few weeks ago, and read the story about how many tries it took to get an instance of the blue fire. Here it is again for those who missed it.
Yesterday, it was Valentino Rossi's turn; today, it was Nicky Hayden who got to ride the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 machine. Here's what he had to say to the Ducati Corse press office, complete with a couple of photos from the day:
NICKY HAYDEN COMPLETES DUCATI TEST AT JEREZ WITH THE GP12
The first of the 2012 MotoGP bikes - the bikes built to conform to the new regulations permitting machines of up to 1000cc - has taken to the track in testing, and with the most famous of names at the helm. Valentino Rossi rode the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at Jerez today, getting his first laps on Ducati's 2012 MotoGP contender.
Details are limited, but reports at both GPOne.com and Sportmediaset are saying that Rossi took to the track at around 11am under clear skies and warm temperatures, with only strong winds causing any trouble for Rossi. What is clear from the video and photos is that the bike is very similar indeed to the GP11. The rear swingarm and linkage are visibly different, and the lower exhaust is very different to the unit fitted to the GP11. According to Sportmediaset. The times were respectable, but the engineers' main concern was fuel consumption. Though engine capacity is being expanded to a maximum of 1000cc, the bikes will still only have a maximum fuel allowance of 21 liters, exactly the same amount the 800s are allowed.
Valentino Rossi took to the track today, to assess the state of his shoulder ahead of the resumption of official testing for the MotoGP class next week. Banned from testing a MotoGP bike, Rossi instead tested a WSBK-spec Ducati 1198SP, putting in a respectable 25 laps of the Italian circuit, just a few miles from his home, to judge his strength, mobility and fitness.
The verdict, according to a press release issued by Ducati Corse, is not good, but it is no worse than expected either. "It hurts a lot and isn't very strong," is how Rossi summed up the state of his shoulder after the test, though he added that the test "more or less confirmed what we expected." At Ducati's launch event in Italy, the Italian had told the press that he did not expect to be back at full fitness until May 1st, and this press release confirms those statements.
The photos are already all over the internet, and will be filling up the pages of the motorcycle racing press (or what remains of it). That doesn't prevent us from jumping on the bandwagon, and publishing a few of the press shots released by Ducati of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi in full Ducati Corse getup. Click on the photos for desktop-sized images, and enjoy!