2012 MotoGP Testing
When the first official testing session in 2012 MotoGP wrapped up Thursday at Sepang International Circuit, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi improved his Wednesday time by over a second.
Following a day of GP12 chassis setup, Rossi posted the fifth quickest time of 2:00.824. The nine-time World Champion, who completed 42 laps, was 1.217 seconds slower than the overall leader, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner.
When the test was complete aboard the 1000cc desmo, Rossi reportedly was happy with the front-end of the Ducati, an issue he struggled with throughout the 2011 MotoGP Championship, which Rossi finished seventh overall.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati GP12 MotoGP) says: "We on the team are all happy with how this test has gone, especially today. With a 2:00.8, we’re starting to get to a decent time. The two Hondas and the two Yamahas are still ahead of us, but we consider this test to be a starting point.
"The most positive things we’ve achieved are that the front now lets me ride a little more as I’m able, that the bike reacts well to changes and that we have very clear ideas on what’s still missing.
"In particular, if we manage to improve the bike’s behavior on acceleration, we’ll be able to take a consistent step forward. I know that the work has never stopped at Ducati, and now with the information we’ve gathered, they’ll keep working on the areas that we’ve identified. That might take a while, but there’s still some time before the first race. We have to keep improving, so we’re not getting too excited, but I’m pleased with how things have gone so far."
As for VR46’s teammate, Nicky Hayden only completed 19 laps Thursday due to left-shoulder pain. Hayden injured his shoulder while training on a Flat Track in his home-state of Kentucky in December.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati GP12 MotoGP) says: "Obviously, I’d like to have done more. I can’t really say it was a real test for me, but I did a few laps each morning in order to at least get a feel for the new bike, get a little data and understand a couple of things.
"Even in that limited time, I was able to make small improvements and go quicker each day. Ducati did an amazing job with this bike in a short amount of time. It’s smoother than any other Ducati I’ve ever ridden, it looks slick and it’s good to work on.
"It’s got good power, and the front end is working well, but with the extra power, now we’ve got to find better rear traction at the first touch of the throttle. With the few adjustments we’ve made, everything seems to be going in a good way, so now I just need to get healthy."
The Ducati Duo of Rossi and Hayden will be back on the track for the Sepang II test Feb. 28 through March 1.