MotoGP: Ducati & Rossi Day 2 Report

MotoGP Valencia Test

With all the energy and excitement surrounding the news of Valentino Rossi testing the new Ducati at Valencia for the traditional two days of post-season MotoGP testing, the results were anything but spectacular.

During Tuesday’s testing, Rossi was 10th fastest, his Valencia results almost two seconds slower than his former teammate, the 2010 MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo.

And Wednesday’s testing didn’t show any improvements; the nine-time World Champion was 15th fastest out of 17 riders, 1.659 of a second slower than the fastest man on the track, which is also who Rossi replaced, Casey Stoner.

Just like stated yesterday, the General Manager of Ducati Corse Filippo Preziosi said the two days of testing for the 2011 MotoGP season were not about fastest lap times, but more importantly, deciding what engine configuration to progress with, either the “Big Bang” or the “Screamer.”

After completing most of his 56 laps aboard the Ducati GP11 with the “Big-Bang” engine on Tuesday, Rossi was scheduled to do additional laps with the “Screamer” on Wednesday. But instead, Rossi completed 70 laps with the “Big Bang” while working closely with Preziosi.

Due to amount of emphasis the latter received during the MotoGP testing, the “Big Bang” is likely the configuration that the 2011 Ducati Team of Rossi and Nicky Hayden will use next season. This is the same engine Hayden and his former teammate Casey Stoner used throughout the 2010 MotoGP season.

After spending seven years with Yamaha, Rossi has much work to do in adapting to the Ducati GP11, and Preziosi says this will be the objective of Ducati – to match the bike to Rossi’s riding style, allowing Rossi to ride like Rossi.

Filippo Preziosi says: “After these two days of tests we will go back to Ducati for a meeting, where we will decide which path to take between the two engines, the big bang and the screamer, although the information we have is pointing towards the former. It will be a decision we will make by analyzing the data in depth as well as planning the way forward around all the other things we learnt at the test.”

“The objective is clearly to allow Valentino to ride like Valentino! We know we have to improve the bike in order to achieve this, especially the front end. He has given us some very precise information and now it is down to us to use it.”

“We would obviously have liked to give him the opportunity to go faster today but even though that wasn’t the case he has impressed everybody over the last two days with the way he works, his calm approach and his positive attitude towards everything.”

Rossi’s teammate completed 91 laps on Wednesday, the most of any rider. He tested both the “Screamer” and “Big Bang,” and was quicker on the latter, eventually posting the sixth-fastest time.

Filippo Preziosi says: “Nicky also worked very hard, as usual, and set a good lap time on the new Bridgestones as well as the ones we were already using, which is another big positive. Now we have to work to give them both a more competitive bike for the next test.”

Next, Preziosi will meet with the engineers and technicians in Ducati Corse headquarters, and likely decide on what engine to proceed with for the 2011 MotoGP season, and the “Big Bang” is the likely candidate.

Both Rossi and Hayden will return home now for a Winter break before the next official test at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia from Feb. 1-3, 2011.

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).