Rossi Takes Ducati GP12 Out On Track - Including Photos And Video

The first of the 2012 MotoGP bikes - the bikes built to conform to the new regulations permitting machines of up to 1000cc - has taken to the track in testing, and with the most famous of names at the helm. Valentino Rossi rode the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at Jerez today, getting his first laps on Ducati's 2012 MotoGP contender.

Details are limited, but reports at both and Sportmediaset are saying that Rossi took to the track at around 11am under clear skies and warm temperatures, with only strong winds causing any trouble for Rossi. What is clear from the video and photos is that the bike is very similar indeed to the GP11. The rear swingarm and linkage are visibly different, and the lower exhaust is very different to the unit fitted to the GP11. According to Sportmediaset. The times were respectable, but the engineers' main concern was fuel consumption. Though engine capacity is being expanded to a maximum of 1000cc, the bikes will still only have a maximum fuel allowance of 21 liters, exactly the same amount the 800s are allowed.

Sportmediaset also spoke to team boss - and test team leader - Vito Guareschi, who rode the bike in a shakedown test yesterday, just to make sure that everything was working correctly before handing the bike over to Rossi this morning. The bike has more torque, according to Guareschi, and also has a deeper rumble to it. The firing order is still a big bang, just as the 2011 bike is.

The chassis being used is virtually identical to the current chassis fitted to the GP11. This is just a temporary measure, however, as Ducati Corse is working on a new chassis to be built based on the feedback from Rossi and Hayden over the course of 2011.

How fast the bike actually is probably not the most important part of this launch, however. Ducati and the Marlboro Ducati team have leveraged the test into a brilliant marketing opportunity, issuing a video and a series of photos to still the hunger of the fans for news. They also ensured that the GP12 was fully painted up in the team's 2011 livery, giving extra coverage to their sponsors for this year, with logos from TIM and ENEL clearly visible in the photos. Photos we have chosen to display below, helping Ducati's marketing juggernaut on its way.

Here's the video officially released by Ducati:

And photos of the bike, courtesy of Ducati Corse:

Valentino Rossi on board the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at Jerez

Valentino Rossi on board the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at Jerez

Rossi on the Ducati GP12 at Jerez

Rossi, Ducati, GP12, Jerez

Rossi, Ducati, GP12, Jerez

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Sure you mean 21 not 12 ;-)
"Though engine capacity is being expanded to a maximum of 1000cc, the bikes will still only have a maximum fuel allowance of 21 liters, exactly the same amount the 800s are allowed."

Disappointed they didn't give any audio of the bike on track. The biggest problem with the move to 1000CC is the fact that they aren't increasing fuel capacity. Not a fan of that regulation at all.

Probably worried some pesky journalist would run it through an editor and show the firing order on, a web site ;-)

On that video, at 0:16, we see a GP12 being readied for the track. Here's the question:

1) Whose bike is it?
2) How many reasons can you furnish as proof for your answer? There are at least three that I can readily see..


I couldn't agree can the fuel capacity stay the same wnen the cc has (will) been increased. Would it kill dorna to up it bya litre ot two?

I really wonder what difference the increased capacity will have being that they have the same amout of fuel? I guessing, it will be lots less than most of us think.

I think it was the sepang race last year that they shortened by one lap. You could clearly see the performance difference and the lack of processional racing from the increased fuel - at least that seemed to be the conensus.

..what the MSMAs reaction would be if the rest of the GPC voted for a 20% reduction in race distance to side-step the 21 litre fuel rule? As fans would watching a 20 lapper instead of 25 detract, given the potential benefits? WSB don't seem to do so bad.

...and minutes on camera for the sponsors, would be a bit of a challenge. Eliminating ONE lap might be all it takes, but I doubt it would ever happen, as that one time was just for temperature and rider fatigue. *sigh*

Were they allowed to keep tires from this past weekend (you know, since they didn't use them on Sunday)? 

Or, are Bridgestone allowed to make some available for "2012" testing?

This really is great fun to think about...  There's nothing preventing them from importing updates (excepting the engine) to this year's bike.

as soon as i saw that they were using the 2011 frame in this bike. the engine would have a different feel and character, but whats to say this isnt just a disguised test for a new swingarm or forks

I have thought for a while, watching the GP rulemaking bodies try to limit cost and essentially find cheap horsepower, that the cheapest horsepower you can have is more fuel. As an added bonus, more fuel comes with it's own penalty of more weight. Let the engines suck down a little more fuel, make a little more power, and have the tires spin up a little more (wishful thinking, I know).

Just like I think the easiest way to cure Ducati's front end problem is a different tire, one made specifically for the Duc.

How valuable is a test for the GP12 without a new chasis? Supposedly their biggest issue with their current machine?

Seems like a marketing grab more than anything.

That bike is not necessarily "the" GP12; more likely just a prototype/first draft... Ducati's main aim will be to see how their first cut of a 1000cc motor actually works in the hands of the factory riders, and putting it into the current chassis give them a benchmark against the 800cc version.

If Rossi has come away saying he is happy with the new motor in the current chassis then they are on the right track.

But yeah, good marketing opportunity too : )

as can be expected from an official video of a work in progress machine.

Clocked the swingarm from the left. That's a big old number out the back. And the Rossi 'quiet' pipe is back. Odd that we haven't seen such on the GP11.

Good observation. I hadn't even noticed that this year but remember reading at one time that Rossi was always slightly bothered by the noise of non-muffled exhaust.

Note the bodywork too.
Looks like the old style fairing which has been discarded on the current GP11. Wonder how long that will last before its taken off.

Wonder want the front end feel is like?

To ghostdog6

No special tyres for the Ducati allowed by regulations. Tyres are fixed for all competitors. Two compounds per weekend, and no special constructions.

I don't think he was suggesting that they would get Ducati-specific tires. I think his point was that is what they need. Pretty sure he's aware of the rules.

Just lifting the skirt a little showing the legs with that video. Need more quotes, shots, more sound! That little Italian company that can. The engine rolling out and in to the pits was not enough to get a good understanding of the sound. Rossi does seem alot more confident riding the bike though. He seems a million miles away from that first test in which he was pretty cautious. Hope they get it together. It is good to see small factories can be a force in the mega conglomerate field of racing.

I wonder how much of the Formula 1 resources are now being used on the Motogp side of Honda?

as a racer of almost exclusive Bologna products - not to mention my natural Kiwi underdog mentality - I'm right with your 'Little Company that Can' call. And we all know how much of a gaping wound 2007 left in the Honda corporate pride.

I was lucky enough to have a 'one on one' tour of the Bologna factory in 1995 with the then Pacific region manager. No flash tour entrance back then. I almost creamed myself at the sight on crates full of sexy Desmo cams. Enthusiasm only tainted by the sight of row upon row of Grey 916 Senna's. Sorry but I shall never understand, nor respect (in the manner of bike racers) four wheel racers. Twice the wheels, half the skills. I only brought a road Duke in 1990(900ss) after sitting behind a 750 Paso rider for 50km whilst on my FJ1200. The aural assault drove an emotive bolt right through the heart of my UJM. Respect to Ducati for the Pasolini. The unfortunate F1 driver giving his name to the 916 was an oddly driven sap to the Castiglioni's.

There is no better sound in motorcycling than a 90 degree Ducati. My version of the mythical place 'heaven' would involve a 'bunga bunga' style party in Bologna.

Sorry, Bloody Mary's have got the better of me. Tis a symptom of being separated from ones whanau for too long between drinks.

I suspect they may have promised not to use a different chassis for the test.
Otherwise it would be a great way around the test limit:

"We're just testing a new engine for 2014... it has all the same mount points as the current one, but we decided to test it in a brand new chassis....
... yes, I guess we could conceivably fit the new chassis to our current engine, but we're not testing the current bike, honest..."

I notice the back-end of the GP12 has louvers. Even has what appears to be ducts on each side of the seat back pad. I do not see reflection from a radiator behind the front wheel. Does this suggest they are trying Britten's trick of radiating heat behind the seat instead or to augment the front radiator?

If the winglets on the GP11 prototype were to facilitate airflow past the forward radiator - and hence improve cooling. The winglet's removal to improve turn-in left the heat exchange problem to be solved another way.

Does anyone see evidence of some coolant routing to the back side of the new girl?

They might put a secondary radiator up there but i'd think the extra weight of the radiator and coolant that far from the centre of gravity would negate any heat loss benefits.

If the airflow was better, and hence the heat-exchange was more efficient, the radiator might be smaller and lighter. it would just be the routing lines to/from the engine casing that would be longer. look at pictures of the Britten cooling system, and you might be surprised at how small it is.

The little heat-exchangers would fry the engine if the bike stood still for too long as air needed to be moving through the ducts to cool it.

Street bikes need a radiator to cool the bike sitting in traffic. Race bikes - especially when there are no idle pit-stops - don't need to cool the bikes when they are sitting still except for the starting grid.

Can anyone point to a GP12 front radiator pic/video?

Lots of people have tried the rear mount radiator and they've all ditched it pretty quickly.

The louvres look like the standard method of stopping the rear pipe from setting the tail on fire...

I understand why Rizla would want the smoking effect - no louvers, not standard.

Honda has a partial fairing, with holes.

Yamaha does a 2 into 1, no holes.

So I don't agree with your claim of standard, but it may be just what you are saying. A picture of the back of the GP11 and GP12 without the bodywork might help, I just haven't found one.

I see a cunning plan to get more heat into the front tyre :)

"No special tyres for the Ducati allowed by regulations. Tyres are fixed for all competitors. Two compounds per weekend, and no special constructions."

Yeah, I know the rule, I just wish they'd change it. Spec tyres were supposed to bring closer racing by eliminating those "special" tires Rossi and the like used to get flown in by Michelin overnight on Saturday. I can say definitely that the racing has been no closer by adding a spec tire. All I see is manufacturers spending more to change the bike to the tire, instead of the other way around. Its taken Honda a few years to get the RCV to the level it is adapting to the tires, now look at the resources Ducati is throwing at the Desmo to get it to work with the spec front. Seems less cost effective to me.

What I'd like to see is a spec set of tires per manufacturer - let them choose the tire company to work with. So Honda could work with Bridgestone, Ducati with Pirelli, Yamaha with Michelin. Let them develop tires specifically for their bikes and make the same tires available for each rider on that make. Spread the cost of supplying GP tires around, help the manus by developing a tire that fits their bike instead of vice versa.

That and eliminate the fuel restricitions (fuel is really the cheapest HP there is) and we'd see a lot better (and cheaper) racing.

David, Thanks for a great site.

The 21 litre fuel limit's main function, I believe, is to act as a form of power limit. Giving the 1000 cc bikes the same fuel limit effectively says that you've got the same maximum power available to you that the 800s have now but by going to a bigger engine this should be available at lower engine speeds and therefore less costly. For my two pennyworth I think that the FIM have got this bit about right.

Don't lose sight of the fact that MotoGP is struggling to get 17 bikes on the grid and even WSB can't shout too loud, they have only 23 bikes or there abouts.

The world really is not awash with the money to go GP racing the way that so many of us would really like to see it.

This is a golden opportunity to get the formula right. Obviously the fuel limit contributes nothing to R & D that could not be done in a more controlled environment, so if the 21 liter limit works to give us engines with a wider power band, thereby making traction control less necessary and, in fact, a waste of fuel, then the rules may be right.
But motorcycle racing is not about slotcar-type wheels-in-line racing.
If a technology were suddenly available that would make staying on the ground the fastest way around a Supercross track, with the bikes treating the triplies like giant dubbies, the first thing any intelligent promoter would do is ban whatever invention from Hell had prevented the towering leaps that define the sport of SX.
Whatever gets the bikes moving around again, the wheels out of line and, if possible, smoking, may outrage about eleven people and four journalists, but will bring the yahoooo! back.
The true greatness of MotoGP racing is seen in the fact that the obvious skill of the riders, even with these kiss-your-sister 800 races, has kept the grandstands full and interest high. But the safety benefits of TC are only true as a self-fulfilling prophesy.
If TC were simply not allowed (as in F1, where banning it has been accomplished easily with generic ECU), then engine designers would build completely different engines, giving the riders feel and progressive power delivery.
When it is said that current 800 could not be ridden without TC, that is missing the point completely. Without TC these 800, rev-happy aberrations would never be used to power two-wheel machines.
Remember, spellcheck autocorrect is very useful (I love it) but these spelling aids are obviously not allowed in a Spelling Bee. And TC is the spellcheck of the the throttle-control Spelling Bee. (I´ve got to run that one past Kenny Roberts.)

They turn TC off when they want to save fuel. Cutting spark wastes gas. The fuel computers turns down the power with the fuel mapping, and the rider gets the bike home without TC.

We've got THE Dennis Noyes posting comments?! When did this start? And what internet rock have I been living under that I only noticed today?

That is correct. Dennis Noyes has shown me nothing but kindness since I entered the MotoGP paddock, and reads - and occasionally comments on - the website. Mainly, I might add, for the comments, not so much for what I write. He (and others) have commented on the remarkable standard of debate on the site. Hence my occasionally heavy-handed moderating of inflammatory comments...

In a couple of years' time, when we make enough money, I'm going to persuade Mr Noyes to write for us.

Unless the thermal efficiency of the '1000cc' engines is dramatically greater than the 800's, I don't see much of a change in it.

A good 4-stroke gasoline engine consumes about 0.4 lb/HP-hr.

So, for a fixed fuel allotment, there's a fixed amount of HP-hr available.

Increasing the thermal efficiency of the four-stroke engine (whether that be by physical engineering or electronic engineering) is the main reason the factories go racing.