Carlos Checa is to help Ducati in developing the Desmosedici GP12 MotoGP machine. According to the leading Spanish website Motoworld.es, Checa told the post-race press conference at Magny-Cours that he had been asked by Ducati to help them with developing the GP12, as the factory has already used 7 of the available 8 extra days of testing the 1000cc machine using contracted riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden. The announcement got a little lost in the euphoria of the title celebrations, with much of the questioning focused on the WSBK championship.
The newly-crowned 2011 World Superbike champion also confirmed he would be testing the 1199 Panigale, Ducati's successor to the 1198R on which Checa secured the title. Ducati will not be racing the Panigale in the World Superbike class next season, entering it for a year in the Superstock 1000 class first, and so Checa will be competing on the 1198R again next season. Balancing the different engine configurations remains a bone of contention, with Ducati finding the four cylinder manufacturers - and especially Aprilia, BMW and Yamaha - lined up against them, according to GPOne.com. The four-cylinder manufacturers want to impose a 6kg weight penalty on the Ducati from the outset of the season, in contrast to the current rules where the four-cylinder and two-cylinder bikes start out equal and the weight of the twins is adjusted based on a formula measuring their performance.
Troy Bayliss, who has been heavily involved with the development of the 1199 Panigale, had previously been linked with development of the Desmosedici GP12 as well. But at Imola, Ducati Corse boss Filippo Preziosi told GPOne.com that although Bayliss was undoubtedly fast, the setup he uses was too different from other riders, making his data less relevant for the bulk of the riders currently racing the Desmosedici. Checa, with experience of a wide range of both MotoGP bikes and World Superbike machinery, should provide more directly useful feedback from testing the GP12.