During winter testing, there was a great deal of mystery surrounding Ducati's so-called "flexi-package", a selection of parts designed to produce more flexibility and response in Ducati's carbon fiber chassis. The package had been aimed at improving the front-end feel of the Ducati, and it had been tested by Vito Guareschi and Franco Battaini, and taken to Sepang for the Marlboro Ducati riders to test during the MotoGP tests.
After that, the story became more confusing; it was reported that Nicky Hayden had tested the package, but discarded it in favor of the standard package first tried at Valencia. The reports said that Valentino Rossi had never even bothered testing the softer package, preferring instead to concentrate on finding a setup for the standard package.
At Qatar, Ducati team boss Vito Guareschi explained the situation to MotoMatters.com in detail. The flexi-package consisted of just a special forward subframe, which the Ducati uses in place of a full chassis. The rest of the package consists of the new triple clamps with a slotted top yoke and the 2011 48mm Ohlins forks. Ducati already has a choice of three different rear swingarms of different flexibility, with both Rossi and Hayden having plumped for the medium swingarm. The new subframe, Guareschi said, was "one step" softer than the standard, though Guareschi could not specify how much that was: "I don't know the numbers," he said.
Guareschi revealed that far from being discarded, Nicky Hayden was currently using the flexi package at Qatar. As there were only two chassis subframes available, Hayden had fitted them to his two bikes, while Rossi continued to work on setup on the standard package. But the flexible package is the direction of the future Guareschi said.
"It takes three weeks to prepare a new carbon fiber chassis," Guareschi explained, adding that once they had two more chassis subframes, these would be passed on to Valentino Rossi's crew to start using. That would not be before Estoril at the end of May, he added.