After Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden spoke to the press on Tuesday, Wednesday saw the turn of Ducati Corse boss Filippo Preziosi to talk to the press about the Desmosedici GP11 MotoGP bike, the influence that Rossi had had on the development direction, and the changes to be made. Summed up in a single word, those changes would best be described as radical: as reported yesterday, the new bike will have an altered forward subframe/airbox, modified triple clamps, revised swingarm and new 42mm forks, rather than the 48mm Ohlins used by all of the Ducatis (as well as the Yamahas and Hondas) except for Casey Stoner during 2010. The changes to the chassis are aimed at making the Desmosedici easier to turn, as well as providing improved feedback, and better feel for the rider, especially at extreme angles of lean.
More surprisingly, the engine has also undergone a major revision. The engine internals have been modified to provide a flatter torque curve, making for a bike that is easier to ride, with a less vicious power delivery. Ducati will be sticking with the Big Bang firing order, though Preziosi said they will retain the option to switch to the screamer at a later date. Electronics systems have also been altered, with Ducati working on anti-wheelie systems and on the traction control system.
Meanwhile, more work has been carried out on the aerodynamics, reducing both friction and aerodynamic lift at high speed, though suspicions remain that the main purpose of Ducati's winglets is to increase cooling by creating low pressure over the radiator exhaust vents in the side of the fairing. The redesigned fairing - featuring double exhaust vents rather than one, a larger side area (extending further back towards the riders legs), and repositioned winglets - is also larger, built around Nicky Hayden's larger frame, rather than the more slight build of Casey Stoner, the Australian having departed for Honda.
Preziosi admitted that Rossi's input had been key in redesigning the Desmosedici. Thanking Yamaha once again for releasing Rossi to test, Preziosi told MotoGP.com that what Rossi's feedback at the Valencia test had allowed the factory to do was to prioritize the changes needed, with the engine firing order dropping way down the list, and front end feel moving up. Preziosi once again praised Rossi's feedback, his ability to pinpoint and describe exactly what the bike was doing, and providing the engineers with very precise information.
Most of all, though, Preziosi was impressed by Rossi's attitude, his positive approach and the calmness he showed under pressure. Rossi was able to keep his focus and analyze the data during the test, without succumbing to the pressure from the intense media scrutiny the Italian's first test generated.
The result of the input from the test was "step 0", the first generation of the GP11 to be tested at Sepang, after further testing by Ducati's test team at Jerez from January 17th through 19th. The results of the tests from Jerez and Sepang would go towards improving the bike for the first race of the year at Qatar, but they would also provide the basis for Ducati's GP12 MotoGP bike. That bike, it appears, will not be the full 1000cc, as earlier reports have suggested, Ducati electing instead for a smaller capacity - somewhere between 900 and 930cc - to allow more efficient combustion in a cylinder bore restricted to 81mm under the 2012 rules.