Ducati is to test the latest version of their Desmosedici GP12 engine next week at Mugello. Speaking to MotoMatters.com, Ducati team manager Vitto Guareschi said that Franco Battaini is to start testing the bike, complete with the new engine, next week, in preparation for handing the machine over to Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi for a final test on the Monday after the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. If that test is successful, then both factory Ducati riders will have the new engine available as part of their allocation from Laguna Seca, the race directly after Mugello.
The weather finally smiled on Ducati's testing efforts on Thursday, providing a full day of testing under excellent conditions. After parts of the first two days were lost to rain and a wet track, the sun shone all day Thursday, with the track being too hot, if anything. Though the post-test press release is as free of detailed information as ever, the positive vibe that came through in both the press release and in the responses from various sources at the test is evident. Lap times were not made public, but according to GPOne.com, Valentino Rossi ran a 1'48.62 and Nicky Hayden posted a 1'48.84, on what Troy Bayliss - also there, testing the Panigale Superbike - described as a slow track due to the temperature. That is close to the fastest lap set by Jorge Lorenzo at last year's race on the 800cc Yamaha, but a long way off the 1'47.326 set by Casey Stoner on the 1000cc Honda at the test after last year's race at Mugello.
Ducati is currently testing several new parts for their MotoGP machine, including a modified engine to soften power delivery.
Luck is not on the side of Nicky Hayden.
Nicky Hayden is to spend Wednesday and Thursday testing the Ducati GP12 at Mugello.
Valentino Rossi underwent surgery today to remove the pin in his right tibia, the final memento of his monster crash at Mugello in June 2010. The surgery, carried out at the Cervesi hospital in Cattolica, not far from Rossi's home in Tavullia, was performed by Dr Giannicola Lucidi and Dr Marco Trono, while Professor Giuseppe Porcellini, the surgeon who fixed the shoulder Rossi injured earlier that year in a motocross crash. The surgery was a success, and after a period of 5 days rest and recovery, the Italian should be able to get back to training ready for the 2012 MotoGP season. In a press release issued this evening, Ducati announced they expected Rossi to be fit enough to take part in the second Sepang test due to take place at the end of February.
The MotoGP schedule for the 2012 season has been tweaked a little, and there is some good news for fans: the season starts seven days earlier, with the Qatar MotoGP round having been moved up a week to April 8th. The move is in response to the Formula One calendar, which sees the Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 15th, the date originally planned for Qatar, and so the decision was taken to start the MotoGP season a week earlier.
FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix