Clarifying Testing Regulations: Why Rossi Is Allowed To Use GP12 Parts On His GP11.1 At Assen

Much has been made of the fact that the Ducati Desmosedici GP11.1 (as it has so geekily been dubbed) that Valentino Rossi is to race at Assen this weekend features a large number of parts - some would say, almost an entire motorcycle - that have been developed for next year's machine, the GP12. Rossi has tested the GP12 now on 3 separate occasions, but the parts and concepts he tested at both Jerez and Mugello are now being rolled out for the 2011 bike. This, some fans and media are claiming, is in clear breach of the rules; after all, contracted riders are only allowed to test this year's machines during the official tests at Estoril and Brno.

Yet MotoGP Technical Director Mike Webb today told that his team have been monitoring the tests closely, and that everything at the Ducati tests has so far been completely legal and within the bounds of the rules. Obviously, the GP12 Rossi and teammate Nicky Hayden have been testing is not a 2011 bike (the capacity was checked to ensure this) but if the bike is basically the same except for the engine, why this test legal?

The answer is simple. Section of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations covers testing restrictions, and subsection A is phrased as follows:

Practice by contracted riders with machines eligible for the MotoGP class is forbidden:

and a summary follows of all of the cases in which testing is forbidden, plus all of the exceptions to that ban.

The key phrase here is "machines eligible for the MotoGP class." What is prohibited is the testing of machines, not parts, and a rolling chassis is not a "machine". Ducati - or Honda, or Yamaha, or Suzuki - are perfectly entitled to take their 800cc MotoGP machines, enlarge the engine capacity to 801cc (taking it above the permitted capacity for a 2011 MotoGP machine), and test whatever parts they like with Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo or Alvaro Bautista.

That may seem like a gross violation of at least the spirit of the testing regulations, but actually, it is merely the logical consequence of drawing up rules. If the rulemakers wanted to ban the testing of all 2012 parts which could be used on a 2011 machine, then testing would become impossible. The number of parts shared between any of the manufacturers' 2011 and 2012 bikes is huge: for a start there are the front forks and rear suspension units, as those are dictated mainly by Ohlins. Then there's the brakes, wheels and tires, from Brembo, Nissin, Marchesini, Bridgestone, which will almost certainly be identical between the 2011 and 2012 machines. Of course, the clip ons, brake and clutch levers, throttle grips, and triple clamps will also be shared. And most likely the throttle bodies, radiators, throttle cables, brake reservoirs, rearsets and axle nuts. And what of the radiator caps, brake lines, swingarm nuts, engine mounting bolts or spark plugs? Does the fuel count as a part of a 2011 machine? How about the air in the tires?

That may be a reductio ad absurdum argument, but it holds true nonetheless. If the Grand Prix Commission (who make the MotoGP testing rules) wanted to ban the testing of 2011 parts on 2012 machines, they would have to produce an exhaustive list of both existing and potential parts for every single MotoGP machine, and then decide which could be tested and which could not. That would be both time-consuming and incredibly ineffective, as parts were suddenly redesignated, renamed and repurposed to fall outside the testing ban rules. Given that this situation will (hopefully) only occur this year, as we switch from the 800cc machines to the 1000cc machines for 2012, it would be madness to even consider embarking on such a project for just the one year. Next year, we will be back to normal, and the rules will hopefully stay stable for a very long time.

Ducati may have gained an advantage in the short term by testing the GP11 parts on their GP12 machine. But it is equally possible that by designing 2012 parts with 2011 in mind, they could end up leading themselves astray, and with testing time for the 2012 machine proper sacrificed to lessons for this year. Accusations of cheating are not only completely unjustified, they fail to see the bigger picture. Any testing for 2011 done on the 2012 machine is merely robbing Peter to pay Paul.

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How does your view reconcile with Paul Denning's Spirit of the Rules perspective expressed on this very blog?

I suppose the two views don't have to reconcile since Mr Denning formed his thoughts before the 2011 - 2012 robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario arose.

I doubt in the extreme that Ducati specifically set out this year to develop a GP11.9.

The complete failure of Rossi to gel with the GP11 has brought in this emergency development. Exceptional circumstances. It is a huge risk to take by all concerned. It's no biggie to me from a 'spirit of the rules' interpretation, and I really don't see any manufacturer going to the ridiculous lengths envisaged above.

Obviously Rossi feels the nature of the factory developed GP12 can be replicated in the yet to be ridden GP11.9, but they've got a whole lot more swallows to digest before their summer is made, and that'll probably be next summer at best.

This is perhaps a bit more than a little ridiculous, but what about a scenario where contracted riders do extra tests on say a 1001cm^2 engined GP12 in 2012?
It probably wouldn't give a proper ROI, but what's to stop them?

Sorry to comment this here but the post for suporting Motomatters doesn´t allow comments.

In payment methods both options are the same: "Paypal without sharing your finacial information". Are they both the same option or are they diferent options and that´s a mistake?

They're the same, and I've changed the options to show just one. I've also enabled comments on the subscription page!

We had the same discussion last year in the comments about some story I do not recall - any manufacturer would be able to, for example, put a 21.5lt tank on their bikes and go testing, because it is no longer a legal MotoGP bike. David agreed that there was nothing to stop them, aside from a "gentlemens agreement" among manufacturers that going down that road would be ultimately detrimental.

Even though the testing limitations are dumb, Ducati are quite clearly in breach of the spirit of the rules in this case, but with the hysteria of VR in the equation, I expected nothing less.

Sorry, missed your immediate reference to it in your first comment. Yes, the context is somewhat different, but the concept is the spirit of the rules, and Ducati's choice to break them is pretty clear.

no one with Dennings respect for the spirit of the rules are calling the shots over at Ducati, huh?

If I was running Honda or Yamaha (Lord help everyone!) after reading what Ducati announced yesterday I would have said "So this is how you want to play?" and had a 801cc bike bored out LAST NIGHT (or even easier slapping on a 21.5L tank like breganzane said) along with booking every track I could that MotoGP hasn't arrived at yet and test until the end of time to make a mockery out of this loophole and the way Ducati manipulated the spirit of the rules. Completely ridiculous? Yes. Obviously there is nothing to stop it nor is it "breaking" the rule. It wouldn't be very sporting but clearly sporting has been shown the door.

I agree with you. That is exactly how I see it. I think this is being allowed to happen because it will good for (almost) everyone if Rossi has success at Mugello. Everything is happening so that he at least will get a podium. Motogp has become more ridiculous than NASCAR.

I think it all comes down to intent and it seems that most people would prefer to sell ducati down the river but it is impossible to know the intent of the original test.

If they were intending to actually test a gp12 and get ready for 2012 and after the hellacious time at silverstone by Rossi they said we have nothing to lose lets take this 2012 chassis and see what we can make of it then they were in the the letter and spirit of the rule.
If they intended from the beginning to test a 2011 bike and call it a 2012 bike then they were breaking the rules in spirit but not letter.

I am not clairvoyant and it is impossible to know the intent of ducati before this switch so I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and think they are more just throwing in the towel with their current chassis and now just grasping at making anything work.

The "intent of the original test" was to prepare for 2012 - that's why MotoGP set aside those test days for the 1000cc bikes. They didn't set them aside to "test your 2012 bike but if things aren't working out the way you like this year to develop bits for 2011". Ducati along with Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki knew the intent of the 1000cc test. If Ducati intended to bring the bike forward or not this year doesn't matter because they originally knew what the test were allocated for. No, the didn't break the letter of the rule but YES they did break the spirit of it. No one is doing unlimited testing with a bike with 21.5L tank which is within the rules because it's against the spirit of the rules. Ducati has crossed the line no one else has.

be necessary if the regulations simply limited how much testing a rider could do during the season. 4 days, 6 days, whatever. That's what he has and the team will decide what to test according to their necessity, 2011 bike, 2012 bike, whatever as well. They should just bare in mind an extra day on an 2011 bike, or 2011 directed solutions, would mean a day lost for 2012.

Ducati can use 8 test days in total in 2011 to test the GP12. 8 test days in total including riders, that is 8 days Rossi 0 days Hayden or 4 days Rossi and 4 days Hayden, just how they want to leverage it but not more.

Everyone is way too lawyered up in how they're thinking about this. Ducati have not really violated any rules until they go beyond the agreed upon number of test days. If they've chosen to use up all of their test days before Brno, the other factories will be glad to let them; there is no downside for them if Ducati (meaning: Rossi) become more competitive this year. 

This is prototype racing!  The point being:  there is nothing requiring that the bikes be identical race to race.  There is supposed to be some kind of development happening all the time!  The other manufacturers' '12 bikes will be evolutionary, as well, so should they be banned from carrying over design principles from their '11 bikes into 2012?

And, on that note, HRC will not complain if Rossi is now "suddenly" competitive with Stoner. It only enhances the Championship. Rossi will not run off and skunk the field, leaving Stoner and Lorenzo behind like Moto2 bikes (even if he could, he wouldn't). It's not like Ducati have been given 2 liters of fuel, 100cc, and a couple of extra engines to work with. They've simply more agressively pursued developing this year's bike in the process of having to make a bike for next year. This was the point in having these two riders (especially Rossi) this particular year, in the first place.

If Rossi and Hayden are now consistently competing for the Podium, this will be understood by everyone as "This is to be expected of Rossi and Burgess" and the Series benefits overall.

Okay, but they still arrive at Assen with a new package that has been tested outside the (spirit of the) rules.

Lets ignore the whole 2012/1000 issue altoghter. VR hates the current pile and can't ride it fast. Ducati, under immense pressure from Dorna, Phillip Morris, Italy, and VR himself, are flat out developing a radical redesign which could not be made at the commencement of the 2011 season. Under the current rules (dumb as they are) they would have had to either wait for the mid season test after Brno, or turn up at a race meeting and run the bike untested by VR.

As it stands now, they turn up with a bike that's (essentially) already had a couple of comprehensive tests with VR on board, and development in between - clearly in breach of the current (dumb) rules.

"As it stands now, they turn up with a bike that's (essentially) already had a couple of comprehensive tests with VR on board, and development in between ..."

But it's not. (1) The Ducati uses the engine as a stressed member; the 800cc engine has never been tested in the GP11.1 chassis. It may be that the cases are identical from 800cc to 1000cc, I don't know ... but I doubt there are NO differences. (2) The engine's output also has a major influence on handling, with the 1000cc's hp/torque curves different and revs limited; while the GP12 may have solved the rear pumping issue, there's no guarantee that components of that package, when grafted to the current 800cc engine and its output profile, will find the GP11's rear pumping problem solved. This combination has not been tested.

And ultimately, as David wrote, test time spent developing parts for the GP11 is time NOT spent (significantly) developing the GP12. The other manufacturers are likely going to make steps forward into 2012. If Ducati waste test time on the GP11, they'll find themselves that much farther behind next season. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Development with test riders and factory riders are very different, IMO.

You are right saying "There is supposed to be some kind of development happening all the time", but factory riders are only allowed to test those developments under very restricted conditions, not like this.

+1 to RUSTY BUCKET. too many people whining about the possibility of better racing. Prototypes and development are what sets this series apart. Do we not want more competitive racing? Besides, Honda sells more lawnmowers than Ducati sells motorcycles.....Honda's a supergiant compared to Ducati. What's the big deal?

As you say, Honda sells more lawnmowers than Ducati sell bikes - so it's safe to say that Honda has more resources. If Honda wanted to play like Ducati, what's to stop them from using a 801cc bike or a GP with a 21.4L tank (both of which would be illegal in the current MotoGP format therefore could be ridden and tested anytime) and renting out all the tracks and testing there with their factory riders before every GP? It isn't illegal but is it fair? Is it sporting? Yamaha and Honda could test Ducati straight out of MotoGP if they wanted to skate the rules like Ducati. Ducati has crossed a line they better hope Honda and Yamaha doesn't.

MotoGP less so ..

However Casey does have the satisfaction of:

A. Winning the most 800 cc MotoGP races, and has done it on the Ducati ..
B. Rossi Ducati 800 wins to date .. zed, zero, zippo, zilch (0)
C. Knowing that Rossi is unable to ride the existing Ducati GP11 in a manner that will put it on the winner's position. (Hence the GP11.1 mid-season)
D. Quietly throwing a leg over the Honda RC212V with 4 wins in 2011, and leading the 2011 MotoGP standings and knowing that ..
E.The pressure is on Rossi

so yes, life isn't always fair, but sometimes things work out in the end :-)

Motorsport is never a fair sporting contest. Never ever. Even at the most basic club level, someone always has more money, better connections etc etc.

But on the subject at hand, Ducati has surely opened a can of worms. Honda and Yamaha will be rubbing their hands in delight. Expect to see a lot of interesting "2012" modifications appearing, especially if the championship is decided early.

And I feel as if most of us are strictly unqualified to really talk down to any of these teams, sure some have anointed themselves guru status but really none of us has a clue what each man or woman has invested in the course of a championship season in Motogp. The value of the stakes at hand are simply unimaginable unless you are in it. This year we've seen crazy in race chances taken, press conference magic spoken and so why not take the rules as far as they'll go, its either legal or not NO GRAY AREA. I think that with all that face saving Honda has to do this year there is no way (sadly) they will fumble again and not take the last 800 crown. Anything that can make this season a little spicier is welcome by me. I've had my share of competitive experience and those that whine about rules infractions loudest are usually the ones that have the least chance of success.

Whether or not Stoner had the answers or the support while at Ducati, they sure as hell didn't have the sponsor/budget and that is at least in part STONERS fault for not wanting to play the game in which every rider is reminded that the stakes are high and the people that pay the bills expect results yesterday.

You start by saying none of us are experts and shouldn't really have opinions about the teams, then tell us that if Stoner was prepared to be photographed smoking marlboro's Ducati could have developed a better bike?


There's only one reason they didn't build a better bike... JB has said it himself... it's because they didn't listen to their riders. Not just Stoner, but Hayden, Melandri, etc. They were convinced it was all in the rider's heads. The worst Stoner did was win occasionally. Maybe if he'd lost every week they may have paid more attention, but because they knew that on his day Stoner could make the bike work, then when it didn't work it was obviously the rider's fault.

Rossi has taught them otherwise.

Now the pressure is on. If Rossi fails even the Pope will be calling for the Ducati factory to be torched. They simply have to pull out all stops to win, because if they fail with Rossi on board, then everything will be laid squarely at the feet of Ducati.

This site is rapidly descending to the same level as! I cannot believe some of the ill informed and ignorant, as well as pure "hating" remarks that I have just read.
David has summed it up very well indeed and still the stupid comments keep coming. If this puerile nonsense is the way this site is going - it won't be worth visiting anymore.

... but true. Why does every discussion have to degenerate into an argument about the relative merits of Stoner and Rossi? Worse, about "fairness" and perceived slights from the past. C'mon, the vendetta is an outmoded concept, there is enough interest in what is happening this season, this weekend, without descending into "but he said" and "his fans said".

MotoGP is a sporting competiton. Rider against rider, bike against bike to see who is best. Of course fans are going to compare Rossi and Stoner. To expect otherwise is naive. Sometimes the discussions may get a bit heated. As long as people conduct themselves with decorum, avoid personal attacks, and hopefully use facts to support their opinions, then these discussions will continue to be informative and entertaining.
PS. Fans will still be arguing about Rossi and Stoner in twenty years time, the same as F1 fans do with Prost and Senna. It's human nature.

As motomatters gains publicity it is natural that different characters show up in the forum. It's a social challenge for all members using this site as a place for information and insight and countering comments with high "noise" level or rebut statements with knowledge and arguments. I think it works.

The statements that Ducati is cheating was a new way of seeing matters for me, people who argumented here in favour of this view had some interesting points to say that didn't cross my mind and although I don't agree with them, I see it as an added perspective to Ducatis move and I'm glad to have gained a more complete view of this topic.

The articles are so much better than other sites, and many of the posts are still thoughtful and informative.

Why is the focus only on Ducati about testing outside the spirit of the rules when Honda has tested their 2012 also and Yamaha to do the same? Surely if any of the parts of their bikes might work on their current bike they will use them..

Because Ducati has ADMITTED the chassis that they tested a week ago in a test allotted for factory riders to test NEXT years 2012 bike will be used this year. Honda and Yamaha have tested the 2012 bikes - but they have said "well we don't like this year's chassis so we are going to go ahead and use the chassis that we have been working on in our test for the 2012 bike that has been run numerous times by our factory rider."

Come on guys, you can't be serious being shocked for a so logical consequence of the 2012 change of regulation.

If the Honda was slow, they would do the same, if Suzuki could afford it, same.

Motorsport regulations are always "treated" like that ... formula 1 is the best exemple ... if you don't want that, let's decide to have 15 same bikes and to chose by lotery every week end which pilot for each moto...

The only explanation is that these "shocked" points of view come from Stoner fans or anti Rossi ... but don't be affraid, there won't be a miracle, Rossi will not go from 1 minute late to 30 second in front in two weeks.

And the "poooor Stoner, he was so unfairly treated by Ducati " points of view are starting to be boring ...if Stoner go to for exemple BMW or Yamaha in 5 years, after 5 new titles, how do you think his recommandations will be treated ? ... like "god's point of view" of course ....

Go Stoner, go Rossi, go Lorenzo, go Simo, go Dani, please make us talk about something else than boring rules or stupid press conference rivalries ... i just (re)watched 2000 Mugello and 2001 Assen ... that's what i'm talking about !

Cheers and sorry for my (non native) english

Have to disagree with David's suggestion that by using the recent tests to test parts for the current bike Ducati may have actually sacrificed some time testing the actual bike for next year. In actual fact they've just given themselves a whole bunch more test sessions, because now that they are essentially using the 2012 chassis, every race weekend becomes another test session for developing next year's bike. And they can keep adding parts and making changes to their herts desire, while the other manufacturers (assuming they don't do the same thing) will be limited in their changes as their riders are limited in what testing they can do.

If anything, by the time they get to the end of the year all Ducati need to do is change the engine capacity and they should have the best sorted, most tested 1,000cc bike in the field.

What's the bet Lorenzo asks Yamaha to do something similar if the new Yammie goes well at it's first test outing.

Should make 2012 interesting...

Agreed, every race left this year now provides data which to some degree more than would otherwise have been the case based on 2012 parts. This data is then directly applicable if not necessarily beneficial to the 1012 bike.

It is perfectly legal, though a little crafty. Any of the other factories could and still can do the same should they choose to. Should their 2012 projects be far enough along and should they have the cash. They would not be penalised, just as Ducati have not.

every race weekend becomes another test session for developing next year's bike.

That argument implies that swapping the engine will not mess up the bikes "balance". Remember, everybody was raving about the M1 last year because it was so perfectly balanced. But what does "balanced" mean? I see it as all parts of the bike + electronics working perfectly in harmony. If you take the <1000 engine, it will almost certainly have a different power delivery. Will that effect the "balance"? I strongly believe yes.

Or with a concrete example: Let's imagine that one can really just swap the engine and the feedback and balance of the bike is not affected. Now you slip in the <1000ccm and have to realize that although the bike behaves the same as with the 800ccm engine it wears down the tires a lot quicker then with the smaller displacement engine. What now? You'll have to probably make essential changes to the chassis to counter it and find a new balance of everything. And that means GP11 = GP12 is gone.

does she - the GP11- just get scuttled and sent to the bottom of the sea? Probably not as with only 3 engines for the GP11.9 the old girl(s) might need to be rolled out from time to time. Wet weekends perhaps.

I hear what you're saying and 2011 has now un-officially been designated a testing year and not a legitimate title tilt as it was supposed to be by Rossi and Ducati (read the comments of the man himself doubters). But how much benefit will the smaller higher revving engine be to the lazier natured GP12? Engine resonance / harmonics is one of the areas Burgess has questioned as to potentially having a detrimental effect on the chassis. Something I've suspected & mentioned for the last couple of years. The heavier crank on engine nr.3 was partly to see if this changed the way feedback was transmitted to the rider.

Of course on balance using the GP11.9 makes sense for Rossi and Ducati. They've lead themselves down a development cul-de-sac with the GP11 and they need all the help they can get right now to get the GP12 working.

will be running a new spec version of the carbon frame GP11 this weekend (one that hasn't been tested by a factory rider in another test) so it's not dead. And being that he's already rolled out 4 engines and only has 2 left I'm sure it will get some more work. Unless of course Ducati just takes the grid penalty hit. Being that it's only been around 15 or 16 riders starting, they may weight the options of taking the grid penalty if it means a new engine. We'll see!

In Classic/Period racing eligability issues are quickly sorted, there has never been nor will ther be the need to label and define every component.
Simply they are divided into major and minor components.Major components have to be period items or exact replicas. Minor componemts are free.
Major components are , frames, swingarms, hubs, crankcases, cylinder and cylinder heads, ignition and clutch covers. Minor are everything else on the motorcycle.
If this were applied to MotoGP, so a simple rule like" no major components(or replicas/facsimiles) tested on 2012 machines shall not be used on 2011 machines".Would easily cover the situation we have here.

A testing ban is a good thing as a single days testing costs 4 to 5 times as much as a GP. Only the factories can afford it.

If they hadnt used the words "2012 chassis" in their press release all people would be saying after the Assen round is "Hey, notice the new swingarm on the Ducati?"

As far as this spirit of the rules is concerned, isn't the point of these rules to get engineers to find new solutions round them?

Yeah, they could have not said anything... but since they appear to have broken whatever the "gentleman's agreement" between the factories was, doing it in a clandestine way may have prompted even more outcry when people worked out what they'd done.

I'm still interested to hear what the other factories say about it. Probably nothing I'd guess. They'll just plan to do something similar.

Although I can't imagine there will be much difference between next year's Honda and this year's. You have to wonder how much better it can get. Same with the Yamaha. Despite Lorenzo's constant complaints, there's really not much difference between them. The only one he's had trouble beating is Stoner.

It really makes you wonder why Ducati didn't just say 'big updates', 'revised frame' etc instead of mentioning '2012'. There would have been way less fuss and more people would just accept it as being progressing development.

Edit: fanatic just added a plausible explanation...

I was hoping for the same thing Alistair, but unfortunately the weather forecast is more rain, ducati haven't had much luck with the weather in the last few rounds. lets hope for a break in the clouds, otherwise it;s debatable what they gain from another wet weekend..

ps is there really anyone out there who thinks that Honda haven't got half this years parts on the 1000 and won't throw a new part at the 800 if it works or any of the manufacturers for that matter?? really??

not in the spirit of the sport?? or spirit of dissing rossi no prizes for a correct answer..

It appears you're right going off fp1, though I suspect the majority of the races will be in the dry and the duke doesn't like that as much.. hindsight is 20/20..

This was a smart move by Ducati. All those complaining about it for days calling them cheaters got the truth from Mr. Webb. LoL about a gentelmens agreement. Honda has the best bike this year, there thinking is the "now" and Ducati can't win this year with that bike so are looking ahead instead of wasting time. Sure seems smart to me, more then likely if they had Stoner still they would continue in the way they have maybe pick up a win or 2 at the end of the season and lose the championship and still behind in development. Rossi and Ducati are not going to work in the same way.

I think I understand that testing limitations are the result of the have-nots and the will-nots complaining of "unfairness." But MotoGP is supposed to be the purest form of competition for motorcycles.
Is this standard benefited by restricting testing? If I buy a new bike I "test " it it first. I've never started a race on a motorcycle that wasn't tested and proven reliable and capable of competing safetly and, hopefully, able to win. Why would anyone wish to impose limitations on the testing of the most highly engineered and experimental motorcycles in racing?
To do so is to submit to the lowest common denominator philosophy and that isn't what , in my opinion,, MotoGP should be about.

The problem is, without regulations we would have a HondaGP cup in no time. The brand that is able to throw the biggest money at the series will dominate and discourage other brands to participate. As unfortunate as it is, the regulations are neccessary to prevent monopoly and provide us with an interesting series.
How successful the current regulations are and whether they need revision is ofcourse a different matter...

... will have their posts deleted. Many of the posters here have shown that it is perfectly possible to debate the rights and wrongs of this situation without insulting each other or name-calling. So, debate please, not ad hominem attacks. Thanks.

So how do any of you know that Honda or Yamaha don't have a new clutch or new fork internals or new electronics package or new subframe design or even new engine internal parts that they're running right now after Stoner or Lorenzo tested them in their 2012 bikes? There's a fundamental assumption here from what seems like a majority of posters that Honda and Yamaha aren't doing the exact same thing that Ducati has done. I don't buy for a second that this is the case.

Either way--and to dispute the claim that there is some magical "spirit" to the rule that must not be violated--Rossi will be taking to track tomorrow on a bike that he has never ridden before. Ducati's testers have, but Rossi has not. This is no different than Honda constantly rolling out new frames, swingarms, and forks for their factory riders or teams changing firing order mid season. It's prototype racing, and this is called "development." The only real story here is that Ducati has decided to introduce a LOT of these new parts at the same time.

And if your argument is that Rossi HAS been testing with essentially the same bike that he will be riding Friday morning, I invite you to take the motor out of your liter bike and swap in a 600 (or vice versa) and see how that works out for you. How a chassis interacts with a 1000cc (or 930 or 900 or whatever) engine is very different than how a chassis interacts with an 800cc engine. For Ducati to just take an 800cc engine and plop it in an unmodified GP12 chassis would be foolish at best. This GP11.1 or whatever they want to call it is going to be based on educated guesses, simulations, and verification by the factory test riders, then given to Rossi for trial by fire in a race weekend. In other words, it will be no different than any other new parts a factory rider gets during the season, i.e. Lorenzo's new engine. Ducati already knew from early feedback on the GP11 that they needed to flip the shock and swingarm and mount the swingarm to a frame, otherwise they wouldn't have built the GP12 that way. I doubt anybody at Ducati thought, "This new chassis architecture will ONLY work on a 1000cc bike." They were able to test it on next year's bike to make sure it would work at next year's displacement, and now the desperate decision has been made to test it with this year's engine as well. That will happen tomorrow morning.

If Rossi finishes FP1 in 8th position, will everyone STILL think the new engine/frame combo was unfairly--and excessively--tested?