Ducati Confirms Major Changes To Desmosedici GP11

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.

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"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."

This is surprising, I thought this idea would have been obvious from last year. Well it seemed obvious to me, and I'm just a casual observer.

I'm in full agreement there Richo. Anyone watching the Ducati throw away its front end (and good race results with it) could see what the problem was. And I'm sure Casey wasnt shy about suggesting the priority of things needing to be fixed. But oh no, the engineers know best. Riders just need a shrink to get over it. Unless that rider happens to wear #46 in which case they bow down before his gospel. That would right piss me off. I kinda hope Stoner wipes the floor with the Ducs this year and shows them up.

Rossi hasn't told them anything new. Stoner had tried to have all these things changed over the last couple of years only for it to fall on deaf ears.

It was always going to be the case that when Rossi says jump, Ducati would say "how high?". There is too much money involved for Ducati to keep forcing their design ethos.

Put's into perspective how good Stoner is at (at least trying) developing a motorcyle, not least of all his talent to ride. Even Rossi has acknowledged it now he's had a taste of the Duke.

Nicky must be also a little frustrated as he has voiced the same issues.

Being able to state a problem and being able to pinpoint the way to fix it are 2 different things.

Rossi/Burgess are the best at what they do, they make motorcycles work. They can find problems that are apparent but have proved to be to difficult to fix, or nail down.

In regards to Casey and all the other Duc riders before him. They all have said grip, ridability and feedback. Ducati responded with a new firing order, forks, swingarm, rear subframe.... ETC they new there was a problem but could not fix it.

Ultimately Ducati found "If your only tool is a hammer all problems become nails."

Wishing the best for Rossi, and the team, even if I am not that much of a fan.

However, neither Stoner nor any of the other contracted riders have (or had) the political clout or financial backing that Rossi does, so even though Ducati did respond (as you have demonstrated), they did it within their clearly defined design aspirations.

What they are doing for Rossi (due to the aforementioned reasons) is extremely radical given the factory's history.

It's not as much about ability to articulate the riders needs to the factory engineers, as it is about their willingness to provide exactly what was asked for.

Add to that, Stoner didn't have JB in his back pocket passing on engineering solutions. Stoner's a rider same as Rossi and they can pass on feed back. JB would be far stronger in the engineering department.

Back at the end of 2003 in the 990 era,Ducati were flushed with their GP debut success with Capirossi and Bayliss. For 2004 they made radical changes to the bike. Changed it left,right and centre,coupled to this option and that. The result was a disaster in the 2004 season. This is starting to smack of the same.
Ducati and particularly Preziosi appear to be going overboard in order to provide Rossi with solutions to a problem Stoner had pointed out all year long.
Preziosi singles out the engine as being the main area of focus.This probably because its his particular area of expertise.Earlier they spoke of developing a fork somewhere between 42/48.
Now its back to 42mm revision.So,nothing new from what Stoner opted for last year and the front remained unpredictable,but did improve his feel somewhat.
The aerodynamics,judging by the pictures, are going in an even more 'bulbous' upper front section direction. Surely this will generate even more front end instability.Larger winglets.If there was any aero advantage,the Japanese would have latched onto it long ago. I think Ducati are reluctant to go back to what they know,steel trellis,simply because of pride. The CF chassis mods are beyond the scope of their resourses to test satisfactorily,within the testing timeframe,so the whole thing is hit and miss by circuit. Add to that,that they are placing far too much stock in what one injured rider who rode it once, slowly, is telling them to do and you have a recipe for disaster. They would have been far better off refining Stoner's GP 10 incrementally to Rossi's needs as he adapts to it.
That said,it is just the launch. Let's see how it progresses through testing.

The changes outlined here are nothing like as radical as those made in 2004, and Ducati have many more year's experience in understanding their motorcycle, so I really don't see a disaster on the scale of 2004, or indeed any disaster at all.

The changes they've outlined are all evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and Ducati have always paid more attention to aero than the Japanese manufacturers; wisely so, in my opinion. They have Ferrari's wind tunnel facilities to use, so I'd trust them to hit upon a design that works.

As for CF chassis being outside their area of expertise I'd say they are making it their area of expertise. They also (again) have Ferrari input into this, and it's worth remembering that the Italian factories have history in using composites. Cagiva were using them best part of 20 years ago.

Anyway - no need to panic just yet. If Rossi's a couple of seconds off the pace in Qatar, that will be the time to get the worry beads out.

I was a Ducati fan when Stoner was riding for them. Now that Rossi is there, I now longer wish them to win.

Amazing that everythng has to be changed to suit the Italian Political Animal that Rossi is .

Hope Stoner really goes well on the Honda this year, and kicks Rossi's ass on many occasions.

Its a great assumption to say that because Stoner said there was a front end problem that he actually gave ducati enough information to actually provide an accurate fix.

The constant comments from Preziosi about how detailed rossi was being is just covering up for his lack of interest in changing things for stoner. Right?

Stoner is a hell of a rider but I would question his development skills.

These changes, with perhaps the exception of a softer front subframe, are no more radical than Stoner recieved this time last year. Big bang motor, aero, improved electronics and revised rear subframe.
On soupkast recently, Hayden talked about his differences in set up to Stoner, with Nick wanting softer, Casey insistent that harder was the way forward, stiffer swingarms a particular bone of contention.
Stoners eureka moment at Aragon, which kickstarted a strong final third of the season, has also been attributed to him moving much closer to Haydens settings, albeit very quietly reported on the whole with Casey looking to take the credit himself
Stoner delivered Ducati its first championship, has more wins than Rossi in 800 and was without doubt the No.1 rider.. as No.2, coming off a bad year who do you think they are going to listen to?
Nicky has said this week he's happy to have Rossi on board as it seems they share ideas about the overall stiffness of the chassis and what needs to be done to fix it..
Whether that rigidity was a direct response to Stoners preferences is something as fans we can only guesstimate by reading between the lines, but for me if Casey was such a good develoment rider, how come nobody else can supposedly ride the bike and his personal results have been in decline since 2007?

This is the start of Rossi at Ducati and is exactly why they've hired him and his crew. To whine that Casey was never given the chance or ignored and in the same breath call an unfit Rossi for not being able to ride Stoners old bike, is completely missing the point and does his genuine fans no favours at all.

Interesting that Preziosi again thanks Yamaha for releasing Rossi to test. I wonder if Ducati paid Yamaha anything to allow Rossi to partake? It would make sense--Ducati are more than well funded (now) and desperately needed Rossi's feedback--and Yamaha needed the money more than ever--and continue to do so.

there's no proof (yet) they've fixed anything, but ya gotta appreciate the effort. Good luck Nick!

Wosideg I think you will find that Stoners crew altered the riding position , releasing some pressure on his wrists, is what spured his win at Aragon.Nothing to do with Hayden's settings.
Stoner not good at development??? What are the 42mm forks doing on there? Who came up with that?
Lets be honest the Ducati has yet to be ridden FAST yet has it?

"Who came up with that?" Stoner, after years spent studying mechanical engineering and many more specilising in motorbike R&D ;)

As many other contributors wrote in this forum, pilots ride motorbikes and describe what they feel and, sometimes, what they would like to feel. Engineers design motorbikes. 42mm forks came from Ducati engineers. Now that there is Rossi as much as then when there was Stoner.

But I agree with the substance of your last comment: let's wait for when the bike will be ridden fast again. Maybe in the 2011, hopefully in the 2012.

I read that about his wrist too..
However, while watching Eurosports coverage of the GP at Aragon, Julian Ryder esteemed Brit journalist and co-presenter said that Stoners well documented changes to the set-up on his bike had moved towards Nickys setting..and the changes were not just a click here and there.

Ryder writes for superbikeplanet and mentions it there, the link is below.
Perhaps Mr.Emmett could shed light on the subject?


The way I see it, Stoner arrived fresh to Ducati (having had no input in development) and destroyed the opposition. In the following years the other manufacturers developed, but Stoner wasn't able to communicate to Ducati what the problems were in such a way that they could come up with a solution. Hence his decline every year since 2007.
In contrast, look at the progress Hayden made in his second year on the Ducati. From 13th overall to 7th. Did Hayden's development work also have a hand in both 2010 Ducati rookies (BAR/ESP) placing higher than the 2009 Ducati rookies (KAL/CAN)?

Can anyone say how much the GP11 differs from the one tested at Valencia and how that one differed from the GP10
What are the changes that have been picked out ?


fast the GP 11 will be? I mean in terms of top speed. Seeing the Hondas fly by Nicky and Casey down the straight was really depressing. Part of the Duc's strength (I feel) was being able to reel in the other riders or get more separation down the straights.

When Spies first entered GP, he commented that following Rossi & Lorenzo, who were obviously faster, he could see what they were doing and thought 'I can get there . . . I can go that fast'. When he followed Stoner, he said that 'he is making that bike do things it does not want to do. I have no idea how he's going that fast!' Spies said the only thing that the only thing that scares him is Stoner on a Honda. Anyone remember those quotes?

I'm a Rossi fan . . . have been since I saw him on 125's, but IMHO, all things being equal, no one is faster then Stoner! WHen Rossi first went to Yamaha and won on a bike that no one could, Fukisama (sp? head of Yamaha racing) said that Rossi's REAL TALENT was being able to identify the problems in the bike and PRIORITIZE the problems in exactly the order they needed to be fixed. If the bike had 3 major problems, problem #2 & #3 could actually be due to problem #1! Therefore, if you try and fix #2 & #3, the bike doesn't really get any better, because the REAL problem hasn't been addressed/fixed!

I do NOT know anything of Stoner's ability to develop a bike, but I'd wager next months retirement check that its not in the same universe as Rossi's. Stoner has the ability to ride a bike, FAST, that is basically unrideable! Hayden said in year 2 that the bike 'was trying to kill him' (remember that quote?) How many careers has that 'beast' ended?

There is no question in my mind Rossi/Ducati will be fast . . . but it'll be interesting how long it will take.

I wouldn't put the blame on Stoner totally for the Ducati being slow to develop. Ducati has had many comments along the same lines for years now, from a range of riders. It appears that they didn't take most of them seriously (enough), until such time as Rossi got on and confirmed the same thing. Straw that broke the camel's back, along with a large investment in Rossi and crew plus the loss of face should things not go their way means they will have to do everything in their power to make this work.

Stoner also is his own worst enemy, with his ability to ride an otherwise unrideable bike, how to take him seriously when he goes out and crushes everyone ie Philip Island when he says the bike is wrong?

Makes one wonder - if Rossi did go faster at the Valencia test, would Ducati be as eager to change as much as they are doing with the 2011 bike, or would they be more complacent?

I'm sure the shoulder is an issue too but I do wonder if some sandbagging was involved in order to punt Ducati into action?

I can't help but feel we are at the end of an era. Rossi/Ali. I remember Larry Holmes saying 'I can't win this fight.If I beat him they say I beat an old man, if I lose,I'll go down in history as a bum'.
As for Stoner's capacity to develope a bike,there is no question that he knows exactly what he wants immediately during set up for a race. Rossi essentially acknowledged in the interview that Stoner can set one up under any conditions for himself in the blink of an eye. This has been proven over and over again.Any track,wet or dry.
Developing the tackle for everyone.Well,there I go with Rossi right now and seasons past.However,Rossi, will as always exploit a little reserve in his favour.
Grant them something,but not everything. My take is that the Lorenzo/Forcada/Zeelenberg combo took the Rossi combo head on and won.
Pity its not translating into sponsorship,but it will come.

Its not politics or money that makes engineers listen to and apply Rossi's suggestions, its credibility.

1) The quality of his feedback on what the bike does.
2) His clarity as to what it needs to do so he can make it go faster.
3) His track record

All this is what gives the teams the confidence to follow his direction.

On those 3, we only know the last one is real for sure.
No one can say if Rossi gives indeed a better, clearer feedback that Stoner (or Nicky or Capirossi or...) or not. It is just PR work, Preziosi will never directly compare the work of Stoner and Rossi.
So it's back to politics and all the (rightly deserved) fame based on his records.

Also, I agree Jorge's team beat Valentino's team at Yamaha last year concerning finding the right setup immediately at each track (without any data sharing) but curiously we don't hear anyone claiming than Jorge's feedback is better than the master's...even if in this case there was a direct crystal clear comparison.

On teaming up with Valentino Rossi, Preziosi commented: “The thing that struck me the most about Vale is his great ability to create a positive climate around himself. On the other hand, one thing that I’d heard about him but that I found to be even more true than I expected was his ability to analyze details in the bike’s behavior and to describe them in an incredibly precise way.

"It’s very valuable because the rider is gives us considerable information that we wouldn’t otherwise have. The quality of this information will make a big difference.” continued Preziosi.

Read more: http://www.visordown.com/motorcycle-racing-news-moto-gp/changes-detailed...

I read that as PR work (go find something positive to say after signing the 15th time out of 17 riders), not a candid assessment of Vale's feedback compared to Casey's.
The team needs to emphasize the positive side, to welcome and flatter the new rider, they won't say "Hum, the first time Casey jumped on the bike he signed the 3rd time and was the fastest Ducati rider, now that you've been outpaced by Hayden and De Puniet I wonder if you can win your first race with us as Casey did."
And I doubt Preziosi would ever go public revealing key differences in Casey's and Vale's approach and feedback. I find it hard to discuss each rider's feedback quality when we know so little about it.

Thanks wosideg - more info from Preziosi than I'd seen.

The last paragraph ...

"It’s very valuable because the rider is gives us considerable information that we wouldn’t otherwise have. The quality of this information will make a big difference.”

...COULD be interpreted as Preziosi saying 'we didn't have this level of info from Casey and it will make a big difference.'

My pleasure jvd..
all the noises coming out are good, which I concede is what you'd expect from the launch..but it's little snippets like the above that IMO go beyond PR and give us all a clue, if you have an open mind that is.
It seems Positive Mental Attitude has replaced a dark cloud of negativity and all the staff feel regenerated by Valentinos arrival.
The quality of feedback a rider gives is quantifiable but the lift in moral that Rossi seems to be inspiring is another thing altogether, and perhaps even more important to the team..

There is no secret that the best feedback comes from the rider. IT HAS TO, engineers CAN NOT provide feedback for they are not RIDING the motorcycle, MOTORCYCLE RACING 101, One must take machine out to racetrack, feel the machine perform, and get back to garage to make minor adjustments or major, depending on how you felt. AGAIN motorcycle feedback comes from RIDER, there is no doubt that the best engineer is Jerry, not for a second i doubt his greatness, but a rider has to be able to communicate to his engineer to make the changes the rider needs to make the machine perform better, now back to MOTORCYCLE RACING 101, Every rider has to report to engineer, there for the human factor begins, some riders suck at giving feedback, and some engineers suck at making improvements, the Rossi-Burggess is just the perfect combo and it sucks if you're not a fan, because they make the best team of the last decade.


Owww... For a moment there I thought I was not the only argentine at motomatters. Well just the same, ARG or USA I agree with you.

Just in case there are some argentos out here:

¡¡¡Vamos Vale carajo!!!

In my previous post, I believe I stated 'development', not set-up. There is no question that Lorenzo, and his team, out set-up Rossi and his team from race to race. Bike 'development' is totally different then setting up an already 'great' bike. 2011/2012 will tell the tale, now won't it.

I think I get your point. But from my naive point of view I feel like feedback is all a rider can give to his team, whether it is for set-up or development purposes.
The talented rider will be able to pinpoint issues, describe them from a clear technical point of view so that they can be solved efficiently, he would be the perfect interface between the motorcycle and the team.
For setting up the bike, the team would know which settings to adjust while for development work, the team and engineers would then have to figure out how to adress the problem, think of new design/new parts and bring them to test for the rider to evaluate them. But I doubt the rider, as talented as he could be, would come up with new concepts or blueprints for new parts?
So for me in both cases it all comes back to feedback quality on the rider's side, whether he's trying different set-ups or assessing new parts.
Plus being good at setting up the bike will certainly help for development, finding a decent baseline set-up being necessary to evaluate properly brand new parts without possibly any reference setup.
I agree 2012 will be the first proper opportunity for Jorge to prove his development skills.

The love is strong right now. You do know Rossi has had historical handling problems too that weren't fixed in the blink of a Burgess eye - more like months. 2006 springs to mind.

I forgot about Burgess implying that some of the Ducati handling woes could be fixed very quickly trackside. Seems that they can't be sorted that quickly :)

Sad to think and hard to believe that racing departments are so loathe to listen to the requests and feedback of world champions ie variously Hayden, Melandri, Capirossi, Stoner etc. Does it really take a Rossi (there is only one) to make a factory sit up and listen?

Various works and satellite Ducatis fell over during races in 2010, including Stoner's a ridiculous five times, mostly due to front end losses. If Ducati had to wait for Rossi's input to realise that there was something wrong with the feedback from/behaviour of the front end they must be ostriches. The very talented and experienced Ducati design team must have had their own ideas of what was wrong and how to solve it well before Rossi rode the bike.
I would love to know how many of the changes made for the GP11 Rev0 were in progress in the workshop prior to the Valencia test and what changes have happened since that test as a direct result of Rossi and Hayden's feedback on the new test bikes.

All Ducatis, much like Hondas and Yamahas, were running 48mm diameter forks in 2010 but Stoner decided to go back to previous specs and ran 42mm forks, though he was the only Ducati rider to do so.
In 2011 all Ducatis will run 42mm forks (this comes from the autosport article David pointed: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/88863).
ALL the Ducati riders fell a lot last season, cumulating more falls than Honda riders (who were one more) and the average number of fall by rider is way more important than for any other brand. Even if you remove Casey's stats.
Nicky sums it best: "There was poor front feeling, Casey found a few problems, and I think I was on the ground last year more than I've ever crashed in a season in my life - 11 times".

This fork diameter revision should have been decided before Rossi was onboard, and I would say so for the new aerodynamics (Rossi has yet to test in a wind tunnel with Ducati) and the new engine spec as well (Rossi barely did a handful of laps with the screamer at Valencia).

Plus this week Guareschi said that they would not do any major modifications until Rossi is 100% fit.

Thanks frenchie
I am feeling that the description of "major" changes to the Ducati is a bit of a beat up and that the changes that have been made are more the normal between season upgrade than a radical redesign. The origin of the changes is probably more the design team and their review of 2010 rather than from specific input from the Valencia testing. We don't know what feedback from 2010 or Valencia has been acted upon. There have been stories that Hayden's and Stoner's requirements for the bike differ with Hayden wanting to soften it up (as may Rossi?) but Stoner's use of the thinner and presumably more flexible forks contradicts this.

I seem to remember Casey saying the main reason he left Ducati was because "You finished the season with the bike you started with".
Casey alluding to the fact that they (Ducati) did little if any upgrades (further devepment) to the bike during the season.
Now that they have signed Valentino, Ducati will be under immense pressure to supply him with a bike that wins and even got rid of their WSB team to prove how determined they are.

As far as Casey using Nickys set up, why hasnt NH won any races on the Ducati ?

Because Nicky, bless him..is a half second or so slower than Casey.

I have to say, you can debate the Rossi vs Stoner developement all you want, the FACT is if the factory has a design objective combined with a company ethos then they will follow it to the letter, until major dollars or bad press dictate otherwise.

In motorcycle engineering, the hammer (rider) gives feedback, precise or not, in order of priority or not,which is feed back up the chain by team managers. The management decide based on budget and sponsor expectaions what can be done and in order (usually). The engineers then work within the budget and approval process handed to them and as such, the product is passed on for evaluation.

This is standard affair, unless you are Honda and Pedrosa (we all know how that has turned out for the 800cc era)........or Rossi

For 2011, throw into play new commitments of the company (ie...signing Rossi and the known expectations) and the likelyhood of bad press through failure, and sponsor withdrawral, results become paramount, and engineering risks are taken. The engineers' ideas get more time for deveopement no matter how radical they may seem in the name of results.

Engineering, it is the same the world over.

To dismiss Casey's developement based on one ride of a less than fit Rossi is foolhardy at best. Casey didn't get where he is today by simply jumping on wringing a bikes neck alone, he spent YEARS tuning and developing privateer bikes and understanding how a every bit of a bike works and responds to changes. If Casey was so bad at deveoping bikes and giving feedback, why did Burgess press so hard to have Yamaha sign him to take over from Rossi?

What Rossi and Burgess have brought to Ducati is money, political clout and engineering prowess. Something Stoner, Hayden, Melandri and others didn't have. The combination has always been a formidable team, but even before Rossi when it was Doohan and Burgess.

Fact, the Rossi PR machine is a different animal to what Ducati has ever experienced and you can bet your house if Rossi said he wanted fairy floss ferrings, he's have them.

Take your Rossi blinkers off, it's a business. PR and sales first, riders needs second. Unless of course you have the selling power that Rossi has.

Prioritisation is always a factor, and as you go up the chain from the rider through the company those priorities will change. The Rossi phenomenon has the power to bring the rider's wishes further up the list; something Stoner has alluded to with his frustrated comments about being ignored based on his age, when in reality he has almost 2 decades of racing experience to draw on for setting up a bike.

Gabriele del Torchio said:
"I have a lot of respect for him and I believe that Casey made a tremendous contribution to Ducati. In World Superbike we have been world champion many times. In MotoGP it is only thanks to his ability that we were able to win the world championship in 2007."

No way to compare both rider's input, only one thing is for sure, to measure to Stoner's, Rossi has first to deliver a world championship to the reds.


No..If Rossi halts the downward spiral of results by finishing 3rd or better, and if Nicky and the other Ducatis are more competitive, that will be an truer indication of his input compared to Stoners.

It will still be debateable as the Stoner camp will point out that Stoner has already complained of a lack of development and belief in what he was saying to Ducati. The fact that Rossi has the gravitas to avoid that situation would be potentially enough to change this.

Personally, I think that the truth is less extreme than either camp would have it.

This is my small opinion of what was going on:
I think Stoner was lost a little set-up/development wise with the bike, but I also think he was given limited opportunity to change things and was starting to doubt himself (on the coverage of his first win last year I saw an interview where he expressed his doubt over whether the issue lay more with him than the bike). I think Stoner lost some corporate/sponsor respect with his 2009 illness that he never quite recovered, and as such there was an attitude change in Ducati that treated him more like any other rider and shifted influence toward the bike designers (such as with Honda when Rossi left them). In other words, some in the team were thinking that it was an issue more with Stoner and weren't giving him the support they currently afford Rossi. Rossi has the ability to as someone mentioned, more directly influence the overall policy of the bike design.
Rossi could be an excellent development rider, but that doesn't mean Stoner is rubbish. We will never really know.

We will never truly identify whether or not Stoner is a strong bike developer or not. It will always be on here-say. Stoner's camp will say that Ducati was not listening to him and were stuck up about changes, and the Ducati side will lean more towards the rumors and stories that grade Stoner as a bad developer. The one thing that remains is that they can't take his 2007 World Championship away from him.

The pressure is on Ducati now because the whole world knows that if Vale doesn't finish in the top three next year it is not the rider or team that is the problem.

They will do everything possible to give Rossi a super tool to work with. Their goal will be the same as Vale's, to win the championship in style.

Unfortunately for them and everyone else, Spies will be the 2011 champ (big smile :-)... ) (not bragging - just sayn' :-)...)

could only be attributed to the bike if he doesn't finish in the top 3-5 while being the first Ducati rider...Nicky could score a few podiums and Randy (who was 5th of the championship last year before he broke his leg) is no Espargaro or Kallio.