Ducati "Not Worried" By Rossi's Times At Valencia

When Valentino Rossi switched from Honda to Yamaha back in 2004, he was fast right out of the gate, setting the fastest time of the Yamaha riders in his first test on the M1, then ending up 3rd fastest in an official test with all of his main rivals for the 2004 season. So when the Italian legend made his debut on the Ducati at Valencia, there was some consternation among the fans and the media about the fact that Rossi could manage only the 15th quickest time, just over 1.7 seconds off the time set by his now former teammate Jorge Lorenzo on the Yamaha.

After the Ducati press debrief with Filippo Preziosi, MotoMatters.com asked Ducati's MotoGP Project Manager Alessandro Cicognani whether Rossi's surprisingly slow times put pressure on the company. "We have to manage the pressure," Cicognani said. "But we have managed the pressure in the last month, and so we will manage the pressure in the coming months." Cicognani acknowledged the expectations resting on both Ducati and Valentino Rossi, but emphasized that the Bologna company's main focus was to work on the 2011 machine. "We know that people expected a lot," Cicognani told MotoMatters.com, "but as Filippo said, we are going back [to Bologna], and we will continue to work." There was no cause for concern, Cicognani reiterated: "We know who the rider is, so we are not worried."

Asked whether the test result was an indication of the risk Ducati had taken, Cicognani deftly sidestepped the question. "I think that this will make the next season even more interesting, if we needed it!" Cicognani said. "In the next test, for sure, there will be even more people in front of our garage," Ducati's MotoGP Project Manager joked.

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Who wouldnt have guessed rossi would have performed poorly at his first test, in valencia.

Before ROssi showed at valencia in 2004, he had a few tests, on tracks he loves, before he got to valencia, which he does not...

Never mind the injury issues that rear their heads after 4 odd days of testing + racing

It took him, and JB etal, multiple sessions before he managed to get closer to the front in qualifying on his M1 - he was pretty much a second back per lap, most of the weekend. He had a good race, but...

Then he jumps on the duke, testing stuff, trying to get a baseline, and not break himself.

Where as casey does what casey does, hop on and go to a maximum in half a second, helps that honda has a bike with a solid front end...

Surely for it to be concluded that "Casey does what Casey does" he must have established that reputation on his previous ride over previous years, which as it turns out is the same ride that Vale is now riding!
So I guess what we can conclude as being established is that Casey just hops on and goes to the maximum - what ever he is riding - be it loose front end (Duc) or solid front end (Honda).

Thanks for that - and the translation :) Great article.

1999 Ducati 900SS
1995 VFR750F

decent writing but it is just an opinion piece written by a rossi fan. informative, if you care what the rossi fanclub founder's daughter thinks or the brand of jeans worn by the pit crew. otherwise it is a rossi pr article. he went to ducati because he needed a challenge? please. beating jorge on the same machinery was not enough of a challenge? that would take the equipment out of the equation and be a test of pure rider skill. he wouldn't do it but let's swallow the bs line anyway. maybe he needs less of a challenge. unfortunately taming the ducati won't be any easier!

i am disappointed by the general media reaction to the test results. rossi went really slow..........but he was very calm. great. he couldn't get the front tire up to temp so could not break the duacti front end speed barrier but was still able to give detailed feedback......of a slow pace. from accounts of those who were there he looked very uncomfortable on the bike..........but he didn't go as fast as he could have because there was no reason to. yea, right. maybe the journalists are afraid to write something bad as they may be excluded from the rossi news feed but this test was a disaster as far as ducati and rossi should be concerned.

this is the first time that rossi has been given a proven race winning bike to ride but could not produce a race pace from it. he ends up 15th out of 17th? and people try to spin it positively? previously i thought vale would hop on it and go right to the front and am very surprised at his results.

the duc has always had a weird front end problem likely due to the geometry compromises needed to fit a 90 degree V engine in the proper wheelbase. i think it will take more than feedback from 2 days of off-pace riding to help them 'fix' it. vale will have to adjust his style a lot as changing the way an entire company/engineering department thinks is more than an 8 week project.

oh the irony if hayden ends up being the A rider in the team!


He was facing the challenge of winning back his title of rider n°1 at Yamaha, demonstrating he could fight back Lorenzo on the same bike but he preferred to go because his ego took a big blow (especially when he was due for a paycut while Lorenzo got a raise). That would have been a real challenge.
Where is the challenge in trying to win on a bike on which Stoner won more races than anybody in the last 4 seasons?

And this piece is factually wrong:
"Ducati will probably go for the Big Bang in 2011.
I wonder if Rossi preferred it because Stoner did not want it.
In any case, it is different from what Stoner examined a year ago."
Stating that Rossi preferred the big bang that Stoner did not want to use in 2010...in real life, Stoner and Hayden faced the same choice at Valencia in 2009, choosing between the big bang and the screamer and they picked the big bang, which is exactly what Rossi has supposedly done (even if he only went for 1 or 2 runs on the screamer, leaving all the engine evaluation process in the hands of Hayden). And hopefully for Ducati the engines have a bit evolved since Stoner tried them last year!

Obviously this "article" does not mention that Stoner was very successful (i.e. world champion) on the Ducati screamer that Bologna was using earlier, meaning that he won races on both the big bang AND the screamer.

Speaking about factually wrong or right, what source can you offer to support the 'paycut' argument you are writing about? Every article I have read about that subject reported the same information: 14ml at Yamaha, 14ml at Ducati. Happy to read sources saying differently.

In 2010 Rossi was paid in the region of 14 millions this year, Lorenzo 4 millions.
Yamaha's plan was to cut Rossi pay to around 9 while raising Jorge around 8 (doubling his salary).
A world champion deserves a rise right?
In an effort to ease Vale's ego, Yamaha would still have paid Rossi more than Lorenzo.


Then weeks later, when it became clear that Rossi was ready to jump over Ducati (which offered up to 15 millions), Yamaha made a desperate last minute bid to match Ducati (and Rossi's 2010 Yamaha salary)...but it was too late, Vale had already made up his mind.
This is what you report, but you missed the early part that was much more important in Rossi's decision process.

Obviously it is impossible to check this story but as it appeared on multiple trusted reliable websites, including this one, I think it's as close to the truth as we can get.

@David: I think the search fonction on the website does not work properly (only 4 results when searching for "Rossi", none for "Rossi offer"?), I found this link of a previous news by googling and finding a asphlatandrubber article mentioning this piece as a source...

I did not miss the inital development of the story :)

Usually, when discussing contracts the final offer is what really matters. This is why there is a discussion in first place. As far as our sources go, no paycut involved when the *final* decision was made, Yamaha salary = Ducati salary.

Obviously, I do agree with you that "it is impossible to check this story" but saying that the initial offer was what made Rossi going to Ducati sounds like speculation and not a particularly convincing one. No factually wrong or right here I am afraid.

...that would take the equipment out of the equation and be a test of pure rider skill.

What constitutes pure rider skill at the MotoGP level?

the duc has always had a weird front end problem likely due to the geometry compromises needed to fit a 90 degree V engine in the proper wheelbase.

I have no facts to back this up but guts feeling tells me the "Front End Issue" has a lot if not everything to do with the carbon frame.

The argument for this is the transmission or damping characteristics with regards to high frequency, low amplitude vibrations of the frame. A racer needs to feel those micro vibrations in the handle bars to understand what's happening at the tire - tarmac interface.

Thanks for that link - very interesting, the whole wedding analogy helps to put the pressure into perspective.

A whole crowd of people - friends, fans and reporters outside the door of your room on your wedding night. Can you imagine it!? :O

... it's an interesting article from a Rossi fan.

But there is an inaccuracy I'd like to point out

Ducati will probably go for the Big Bang in 2011.

I wonder if Rossi preferred it because Stoner did not want it.

Stoner was ranting about the Screamer engine he tested end of 2009, not the Big Bang he actually chose for 2010.

I would bet a lot of things that Rossi could have set a faster time in that test if there was more at stake. Rossi is an adaptable, rider, and if he needed to use a more stoner-like 'wild style' he probably could have conjured something up.

The issue is that using a stoner approach to the Ducati would contribute little to Rossi's 2011 title hopes, however. Winning half the season's races and crashing out of all the others would get him nowhere on the points table.

Rossi did what is logical. He rode the way he likes to ride, contrasted his style versus the bike's current specifications and capabilities, and gave the engineers feedback. The end result was not surprising: Rossi's current style does not mesh with the Ducati, but then again, nobody else's really did either except for stoner, and even stoner had a success rate that only delivered one championship in four years.

What we will see now is Ducati will attempt to make the bike more to Rossi's liking, and if the engineers fail to do so, Rossi will likely adopt a more ragged, on the edge style. Rossi can win races riding like stoner, but almost everyone would agree that a championship is a long shot with the bike's temperament. The teams best chance is to change the bike.

Insightful posting.

...and if the engineers fail to do so, Rossi will likely adopt a more ragged, on the edge style. Rossi can win races riding like stoner,...

That's where I'm sceptical, I'll believe this when I see it.

Talk the talk vs Walk the walk. Has to muscle that front. Nostradamus knows.
I don't know.90 day countdown....or what ?? Less, by last count.
Well, Yellow13, no debate there,change the bike.Maybe a narrow angle V5 (Slip it under the srutineer's radar),will suffice.
That's the answer,along with new tyre rules.Worked in bygone days in a majority of one.Get more 'ragged'...go for it.Last time it cost him a leg.
Apologies,my Chrystal Ball needs a polish.
Sure,Rossi can win riding races like Stoner on the Ducati,Win it or bin it.

Rossi better not try riding that ducati like stoner does in the all too familiar ragged, wheels outta line wild style. he would wake up in the hospital doing that. yet that may just be the only way to go fast on the current spec ducati...and i mean the GP11. anything like trying to be smooth and in line with that ducati means he'l be swapping positions with espargaro at the back end of the field. melandri knows all about trying to be smooth on that ducati. best bet is ducati make an audacious bid for yamaha's top engineers and see how fast they can turn the bike around during the off season, l0lz!!! considering that it doesn't make financial sense spending so much on an engine that will be phased out in '12 for the 1000cc, i doubt how much time and effort ducati will eventually spend on the current bike. it's all good to have preziosi speak of the changes that will be made, and yes changes will be made. but sooner rather than later, it's all gonna come down to just setup changes for Rossi and he'l just have to make the best of that while they work on the 2012 bike. let's hope ducati get it right, for Rossi and especially for the spectacle that promises...

...it doesn't make financial sense spending so much on an engine that will be phased out in '12 for the 1000cc, i doubt how much time and effort ducati will eventually spend on the current bike.

It probably doesn't make too much sense to change the engine spec at this point in time because it's probably too close to the new season to get through with the whole test schedule for a new engine. And as you stated, the 800cc will be axed end of 2011.

But what they *can* do is constantly evolve the chassis. The GP12 won't have a radically new chassis compared to the GP11 just like the chassis from the GP07 was an evolution from the GP06.

And it seems to me the biggest problem for Rossi is the chassis, not the engine.

No Ducati isn't worried...their terrified. Rossi has made it clear he'll only adapt so far. He didn't seem able to pass the "barrier" to the promised land ala Hayden & Depuniet. Forget emulating or surpassing Stoner. How else do they get him there?

You have to wonder if Rossi's first thoughts were upon riding the Ducati were, " Damn, Casey is even better than I thought".

Whatever the times, what they have now is one impressive team. Jerry Burgess has rarely lost a championship, brings top-level Honda and Yamaha experience, and has been interpreting data collection systems since they were invented. Preziosi is openly regarded as brilliant. And Rossi, well... One of Ducati's weaknesses in the past was a Stying/Italian manufacture/corporate image fixation. Well, these days Ducati stying is VERY popular (profitable), Magnetti Marelli / Brembo / Marchesini are industry leaders, and Rossi IS the corporate image. Money will flow, Ducati management will say OK! to whatever Preziosi and Burgess want to build, and Rossi will ride it to his limit. Yes, Stoner on the Honda and Lorenzo at Yamaha are very formidable as well, so let's hope for a bright couple years for MotoGP

The money will most certainly flow to VR.. maybe next year might be mediocre (maybe not!) but once on the litre bike again in 2012, exciting things will happen for Ducati (and not just for VR).

2011 will be epic: Certainly one and probably both Lorenzo and Spies will be incredible, certainly one and likely both Rossi and Hayden on a Ducati with extra effort and increased intelligence poured into it, certainly one and probably both Stoner and Pedrosa will be more dangerous than in recent seasons past. Bring it!

With only one more year of the 800's left and Ducati already stating that they are working on a 1000cc GP bike for 2012, it would seem unlikely that they would do a brand new bike for 2011.
Also one of the biggest development mistakes you can make is to change everything at once.

I would guess Ducati would stick with the current engine for it's last year of use and do some wholesale frame changes (this would be an alloy job if Burgess has his way).

It will be interesting to see what they do

Stoner will be the man to beat in 2011. All bets are off for 2012, bring it on!

ride the ducati as hard as it needed to be ridden with an extremely sore shoulder that just got done from an entire weekend of racing, and risk letting the front end fold further damaging the shoulder and possibly ending a career? I think not....Rossi simply rode the ducati to his level of comfort knowing that he was going to be having surgery in the next couple of days...

Ducati WANTS a bike that all of their riders can ride fast....I hope and believe that ducati is going to spend the money to make it an all around better bike because they want the constructors cup badly because it is a representation of both rider skill and manufacturing development and commitment. Don't be surprised to see a heavily changed GP11 come sepang.

Flyinlow27 . . . I think you hit the nail right on the head! Ducati doesn't just want to win races/WC by ONE rider, they want a bike that ALL of their riders can be quick on & put on the podium . . . like the M1, developed by . . . ROSSI! While Stoner was going very/Very/VERY fast, everyone else was sucking swamp water on that 'beast'! I think the GP11 will be a VERY different bike come Sepang, benefiting ALL the Duc riders. Granted, Nicky was doing very well this year, but I believe he will be even quicker on the Rossi/Burgess developed GP11.

He's still contracted to Yamaha until the end of 2010, this is the reason why there was not any Ducati sign on his bike or leathers.

Do you really think it is as easy as Rossi wobbling around for a couple of days, Ducati snapping their fingers and 'Voila' instant competitive bike at Sepang? Correct me if I'm wrong but do you not think that Ducati may have done so at some other stage during the last couple of years if nirvana was so easy to find? Or am I underestimating the amount of light you see shining from Mr Rossi's derriere?

The M1 was developed by Mr Furusawa and his engineering team on the back of input from Mr Rossi and Co.

And by the way, Rossi managed to crash a couple of times in practice following his leg break at Mugello. To use your Shoulder rationale he should've never risked injuring his leg further. The shoulder is a complete red herring regarding Rossi's test times. Rossi got a shock at Valencia - simple as that. I for one do not doubt he'll win races in 2011. The question is just how quickly they can get up the pace with precious little development time available to them.

What some people seem to have forgotten is that before Rossi ever threw his leg over the M1 in Sepang 2004, Burgess had been working closely with Furusawa et al to develop the bike. Rossi explicitly mentions this in the autobiography. This means that Rossi rode something that was far closer to what he wanted than the Ducati at the recent Valencia test will have been.

Of course he wasn't going to be topping the timesheets, for a number of reasons.

I think that next years battle for the championship will be fought between Spies, Stoner and Lorenzo.

Unless Ducati gets very lucky on the extensive frame changes necessary to suit Vale's style, they will be fighting for 4th through 8th position until at least 1/3rd of the season is complete.

The others like Dani, Marco and Dovi will have limited days of brilliance but won't really be a serious factor in the overall championship.

Spies will be the 2011 (and ...) champion if he stays healthy.

Nostro, I didn't say Rossi/Ducati winning would easy, but I believe that Ducati wants more then a WC . . . they want a bike that everyone can ride FAST and compete on. I do NOT think Rossi/Burgess and the minds at Ducati will have it easy making the 'beast' more docile! Stoner talking about 'pushing/sliding the front end on the Honda' after the test was very interesting. His comment was about 'feeling' the front and being able to slide it at will and the TOTAL feedback he was getting from it. I've read, on this site, that CF frames are as easy to modify as aluminum ones . . . I'll take that on faith, as I know nothing about the stuff, but it'll be interesting to see what happens w/the CF Duc.

I'd like to know the discussions/talks that Nicky has had w/Vale about the bike. Nicky has REALLY come to grips w/the bike this year and has been performing much better. David, you have ANY info on this?

And I've got a 'monetary' bet, w/a ridding buddy, on who is winning the 2011 WC--STONER!

I would appreciate comments as I am not convinced that the cf is necessarily the problem. My suspicion is that the actual layout of the bike is a more likely cause for the lack of front end feedback.
My understanding is that the Ducati uses the motor as a primary frame element with cf connecting from the motor to the headstock.As such the largest cf element on the bike is probably that massive swingarm.
The cf "frame" is thus a much shorter (and hence presumably stiffer) element than the traditional full wrap around alloy beam frame used by others.
The stiffness of the motor is a given (or is very hard to change) and thus Ducati's options for varying the flexibility of the " frame" may be far more restricted than for it's competitors.
Other's thoughts?


I do not think the CF material is the 'problem'. I think it is easier to repeatably tweak stiffness with a CF frame than with a welded aluminum frame. CF design software can accurately model varying layers, fiber angles, weave types, etc. to allow stiffness variations. Then use a modern prepreg or resin infiltration system for minimal epoxy content and autoclave it and the parts can be much more repeatable than an aluminum structure with many welded joints.

Ducati is the only bike using a 90 degree V engine and I think this long engine makes them have a bigger compromise in setting up the bike geometry. Compared to an I4, the Ducati L4 either has a short wheelbase (swingarm) and rearward weight bias or a long wheelbase (swingarm) and normal weight bias. Also, maybe all the work on the rear of the bike to avoid the pumping issues they were having last year moved the problem back to the front. Which then compounds the problem of needing to keep the BS tires heavily loaded. They can either have a long slow turning bike with enough weight on the front or a shorter faster turning bike with maybe not enough weight on the front. Slow turning bikes do not win 800cc GP races. Fast ones can if you can keep going fast enough to keep the front tire hot. This seems to describe Stoner's technique pretty accurately.

I've given this specific topic a lot of though as my bike design also uses a 90 degree V engine. I hope to avoid these chassis setup problems by having a linkage front suspension that has a nearly vertical wheel travel path. Since the front wheel does not move rearwards as the suspension compresses I can move the engine forward, keeping a short wheelbase, long swingarm, and proper weight distribution. Time will tell if it works.


Like @thecosman I don't think it's about flexibility or stiffness of the frame.

My understanding is that the Ducati uses the motor as a primary frame element with cf connecting from the motor to the headstock.As such the largest cf element on the bike is probably that massive swingarm.
The cf "frame" is thus a much shorter (and hence presumably stiffer) element than the traditional full wrap around alloy beam frame used by others.

As I wrote in a posting above I think it's about the damping/transmission characteristics of the CF.
If the fork bearings - headtube connection imposes damping of those micro vibrations on their way to the handle bars, the racer loses feel.

From what I know of Rossi I dont think he is a kind who would jump on to a bike , set the fastest time right away.What I would analyze is that Valencia is not one of his favourite tracks nd even during the qualifyin which I was watching Rossi's best time was set during his last lap.This is wat he was able to do with his favourite M1.Considering this plus three days riding which includes FP+Qulaifying +Racing....and then jumping onto a totally different bike ...compared to the Japanese bikes..It must have been tough(with a bad shoulder too)....come Sepang and if Rossi is in the same position then believe me God save Ducati and Rossi....but knowing Rossi...I would like the favourite phrase " Never underestimate the DOCTER"...bring it on 2011..Well i made one wise decision I guess..cancelled my tickets to Qatar and now planning only for Sepang at the end....

Chris USA

Good points and best wishes with the project.
I remember Ron Haslam and the Elf with the NSR engine.

I take it as a given that the 90deg vee configuration has been one factor encouraging Ducati to pusue alternative chassis configurations with product differentiation probably being another.
Historically weren't Ducati one of the first contemporary manufacturers to have the swing arm pivot in the engine cases to try to get the pivot point as far forward as possible and to get a better swingarm/wheelbase ratio?


It seems to me that the key word in Rossi's mind at the Valencia test was "consistency". We all know that he has the ability to turn in jaw-dropping performances but it is always his consistency that has won him titles. I am certain that when fully fit he could have matched Stoner's times on the Ducati but what would that have got him if it also came with Casey's crash record? He is looking for a bike that can be ridden fast with the shiny side up at the end of every race since winning the championship is his only goal. Ducati will obviously go along with his changes because, as a bi-product, they will get a bike rideable by more people, therefore a constructors championship and therefore a more friendly road bike


Swingarm pivot in the cases has been used for quite a long time.
I'd be surprised if Ducati were the first.

The ~horizontal cylinder (or 2) on the Duc is the main item conflicting with swingarm length