The internet has been ablaze with news and rumors from Ducati's test at Mugello, where Valentino Rossi, along with test rider Franco Battaini, tested the new chassis for the Ducati GP12. Times were not issued, though the Italian sports broadcaster Sportmediaset is reporting that Rossi posted a 1'48.05, albeit without knowing which chassis was used to set that time. In comparison, Casey Stoner set a 1'47.326 on Honda's RC212V during the test in July, while Rossi set a 1'49.301 on the GP11.1 during the race.
After the event, they issued the following press release, which is a very tame affair compared to the rumors, though still leaving plenty to the imagination. Make of it what you will:
VALENTINO ROSSI CONCLUDES SIXTH GP12 TEST DAY, AT MUGELLO
For the final day of a three-day test at Mugello, Valentino Rossi joined the Ducati Test Team to work on developing the 2012 race bike. In doing so, he utilized the sixth of eight days during which factory riders may participate in such outings. The Italian turned a total of 82 laps in conditions that were sunny but not overly hot.
Rossi had a fall on the exit of the Scarperia-Palagio section during the third lap of his first outing in the morning, but it didn't affect the team's work, which continued until 6:30 p.m.
Filippo Preziosi and Vittoriano Guareschi were in the garage to follow the test, and official test rider Franco Battaini, who had ridden the two previous days, was with Rossi on the track.
"It was an interesting day, although it was also quite long, because we rode until 6:30," Rossi said after the test. "Developing a bike requires a lot of focus and effort, but it's also very exciting and fulfilling to be part of a group of people pushing as hard as it can in the same direction. Today we confirmed various aspects of the GP12's electronics and chassis, collecting a lot of useful information for Filippo and the guys in the factory. I think that the work is well underway as we prepare for our next steps."