Ducati MotoGP: Winter Work to Suit Rossi

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Ducati MotoGP News

Now that the traditional post-season MotoGP tests are complete at Valencia, teams will began preparing for the 2011 Championship.

And one of the most anticipated MotoGP tests at Valencia was nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi on the Ducati Desmosedici. Although his performance on the Ducati prototype GP11 was anything but speculator, Rossi supplied Ducati Corse with much-needed information to improve on the MotoGP machine over the winter months.

Filippo Preziosi, the General Director at Ducati Corse, and his team at the Bologna factory will now take Rossi and teammate Nicky Hayden’s impressions from the last official MotoGP test of 2010, and develop the GP11 into a machine that will suit both Ducati riders needs.

During the MotoGP tests, Rossi finished 10th on Day 1, and 15th on Day 2; Hayden finished ninth on Day 1, and sixth on Day 2.

Filippo Preziosi says: “As the journalists put the most focus on the lap times it’s quite clear that maybe Valentino has to adapt to Ducati, but mainly Ducati has to modify the bike to suit Valentino’s needs.”

“I’m quite happy with Nicky’s lap time because it was 0.5s from Casey, which was one-tenth less than qualifying practice, so it means he is consistent. To be optimistic I think we know the bike will work even without Casey, so we have to find the way to understand how to modify the bike in order to give Valentino Rossi the confidence to push.”

“I think this is the main thing. For sure his shoulder didn’t help, but the test was really crucial because we have a lot of ideas to modify the bike to suit Valentino’s needs.”

On Sunday, Rossi underwent successful surgery on his injured shoulder that he injured during a Motocross training wreck before the Jerez MotoGP (Round 2). And, by doctor’s orders, will rest for 90 days. This will give the Italian enough time of rehabilitation before the first official MotoGP test of 2011 in Sepang in early February.

During the Valencia tests, Rossi gave the Ducati Corse team much input regarding which engine to go with in 2011, either the “Big Bang” or the more powerful “Screamer” configuration. During the 2010 MotoGP season, Hayden and then-teammate Casey Stoner used the “Big Bang” Ducati engine.

Rossi also discussed grip on the Ducati prototype, which is something Stoner struggled with during the 2010 MotoGP Championship.

Filippo Preziosi says: “(Rossi) likes a lot the rear grip, he told me he struggled a lot with the Yamaha with rear grip, so this is something he liked. Also the engine, and he liked the traction control. Rossi does not have a good feeling from the front, and I think we have to work on that.”

“With that kind of tire it’s very easy if you’re not believing in the bike then you’re not pushing, if you’re not pushing then the temperature of the tire goes down and without the temperature the tire is not performing. If this is not happening then there is no way to be fast. This is something we know very well. If you are not confident with the front you are not pushing and therefore the lap time is not good.”

Overall all, Preziosi said the MotoGP Ducati tests in Valencia meet his expectations.

Filippo Preziosi says: “I was expecting to work a lot on the bike, because I think we had a bike that could be fast but not easy to understand in every way. Nicky at the beginning of last season was really in trouble but he is a hard worker, never gives up, and in the end he was fast and consistent.”

“So there is a way to be fast, and sometimes people who have no experience of a top level MotoGP bike are in better condition to understand the bike.”

“So the fact that Karel (Abraham) has the same lap time as Valentino for me means something. So we have to find a way to have a bike that is easier to understand from the beginning for people who have lengthy experience of other bikes.”

“What is unbelievable is his way of doing the Test, and how positive (Rossi) is. On day one I was surprised at how clinical Rossi was with every detail, but on day two I was really astonished at how he is positive and calm. It’s very strange for someone who is such a winner but has a bad Test. Maybe this is the reason he won nine world titles!”