Finger Injury Means Hayden Replaces Rossi Testing GP12 At Jerez

Just 18 hours after Nicky Hayden returned home after the Japanese round of MotoGP at Motegi, the American got a call from Ducati to turn around and head back to Europe. Hayden had been called up to go test the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at Jerez, after Valentino Rossi had been forced to pull out of the test. The first-lap crash Rossi suffered at Motegi has aggravated a very old (Assen 1995) injury to the little finger on his left hand, and the pain and swelling has made it too difficult for Rossi to test the bike properly. This will be the eighth and final day of extra testing for the GP12, Ducati now left with just the standard two days of testing after Valencia, and nine days in early 2012, with two three-day tests at Sepang and another three-day test at Jerez, before the 2012 season kicks off in April in Qatar.

Exactly what Hayden will be testing is, as ever, shrouded in mystery. The aluminium twin spar chassis - and the latest paddock rumor is that it is a complete twin spar, with the swingarm mounting on the frame rather than into the engine cases as is the case with the current bike - is ready to be tested, and sources close to Ducati say that Rossi took that bike out at the previous test at Jerez between Aragon and Motegi. When asked about this at Motegi, however, Rossi merely said that they had spent most of their time working on riding position on the Ducati, and altering the weight distribution on the GP12.

The most likely scenario is that Hayden will be testing both the larger aluminium shoebox which Rossi raced at Aragon and Motegi, along with stints on the twin spar to test that chassis against the existing Aragon frame. That, however, remains speculation based on rumor and leaks from insiders. With Ducati having issued a press release about this test, there is a good chance there will be a press release again tomorrow at the end of the test, though the Ducati press office is too experienced to be providing too much detail on the test. The media will have to wait until Phillip Island in 10 days' time to grill Hayden about the test, though even then, the American has proven to be excellent at glossing over the details of the test. One thing is certain: Ducati personnel at all levels will be spending a lot of their time in Australia fobbing off questions from journalists.

The press release from Ducati about the test is shown below:

Left Pinky Injury for Valentino Rossi. Tomorrow Nicky Hayden will test the GP12 at Jerez

Valentino Rossi's fall in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday was not without consequences, although the initial examination suggested otherwise. Due to the severity of the pain and swelling in his left hand, the Italian on Tuesday underwent additional X-rays that revealed a hairline fracture at the arthrodesis of the first and second phalanx (performed following a fall at Assen in 1995) of the pinky finger on his left hand. Rossi's participation in the Australian Grand Prix on October 16 is not in doubt.

Tomorrow, Thursday 6 October, Nicky Hayden will test the GP12 at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, using the last of eight days the team is allowed with the 2012 bike.

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More bad luck. Hopefully Ducati and Rossi are getting it all out of the way so they can focus on winning the championship next year.

Yes it will be good for everyone to have them competitive again next year on the new Yamacati :-) Actually I'm really pleased that Nicky Hayden will get a crack at riding the newer bike iterations. Hopefully he gets something out of it too.

good word dude ...

YAMAKATI ! (prefer the "k" letter :) )

PS: win the championship ? ... let's be reasonnable, a couple of podiums and maybe maybe one win ... that's all we want (or not)

The doctor needs surgery and i like the new YAMACATI painted in red but m1 inside. I wish nicky will find the right set up for next year and for the sake of motogp and sport i hope they will turn around the bike next year to winner. God bless ducati.

Good luck Nicky look forward to hearing what he has to say, and hope and suspect it's a new layout the one confirmed as being better at Jerez. It would certainly explain why they've apparently stopped development of the current one and are not building anymore new engines when it would seem the best course of action if there bike is still floundering which it is..Resources can be put into next years engines etc.,
Thought I read somewhere that norton were the first to use a monocoque chassis... Little new under the sun in motogp terms non of the manufacturers can lay claim to most of the designs they use. Though maybe their own versions of them.. Get in Ducati I think??

Hugelean - Norton were the first to use a monocoque chassis? Really? Check the history books - maybe the most famous manufacturer to use an engine as a stressed member was the Vincent, a very innovative design years ahead of it's time. There are others but memory escapes me at the moment. Older guys such as myself dreamed of owning such exotica - a true "superbike" of it's day. Interesting also is that many were initially suspicious of the construction and the sophisticated suspension. Nothing new under the sun indeed. History may prove Ducati took a wrong path with their GP11 but maybe they should be applauded instead of castigated for their innovation. Do all of the armchair engineers really see anything innovative coming out of Japan these days? Just because the Japanese are all using aluminum frames should not preclude Ducati trying something different.

sorry overly subtle. merely expressing the view that calling the ducati a yam for building a twin spar frame calls into question who designed all the bits of a bike first and yamaha don't come up too often.
As an engineering design I reckon it's a work of beauty no question. As a racing motorcycle within the current regs it's an unmitigated 100 m euro marketing nightmare.. Hard to separate the two sometimes.
Was taking a young rider and a bike that only one person could ride and then trying to take it to it's ultimate conclusion(cf design was in direct response to Caseys request for a stiffer chassis.) using a design and materials neither you nor your rider had any experience with a smart move?? Great results based on that no doubt, but with hindsight it looks nothing short of a mad gamble.
Casey may well have had a couple more titles under his belt had they stuck to what they know going off what he is doing this year.

The problem is that innovation for the sake of innovation is a big risk when the main goal is to win races and titles. Look at Ducati's WSB efforts - is there really a lot of difference between the bike Fogarty won four titles on, and the one Checa used this year? Materials and dimensions are about it.

As for Japanese innovation - the Pro-Unit suspension that Honda debuted on the 2003 RC211V is quite innovative, and certainly works! Likewise the M1's cross-plane crank, and the gearbox modifications that improve the Honda's shift time.

Ducati didn't take the wrong path with their GP11 - it started far earlier than that. Just ask Marco Melandri.

Yes, only Stoner has been able to master the 800 Ducati in any form. The reference to Melandri dramatically illustrates the point. Nothing to do with CF. Besides, Ducati's philosophy has been to do something different to beat the Japanese bikes, hence the switch to Bridgestone. It worked magnificently for them in 2007. No-one could have anticipated that CF would apparently make the Ducati even more difficult to master. But Agostini's comments regarding himself and Hailwood are interesting. Agostini admits he found the stiff frame preferred by Hailwood difficult to ride. Clear parallels to Stoner and Rossi.

Actually, it's not particularly innovative, it's a M1/TZ/GSVR/ old GSXR/ D16 /KR3 etc etc system mounted back to front.

To see why: a linkage type rear suspension always has 3 attachment points:
-rocker arm.

The function of that is to control the angle between two elements, the frame and the swingarm. So you have to put two of the mounts on one, one on the other. The bikes mentioned all attach both the rocker arm and the shock to the frame, and the dogbone to the swingarm.

The Pro-unit thing mounts the shock and the rocker to the swingarm, and the dogbone to the frame. It just interchanges the role of frame and swinagrm. All the stuff about not transfering forces into the frame is physics defying marketing BS... but it does create room for the under-seat fuel tank.

In fact if you write simulation software, you quickly realise there are only two designs: the one referred to above, and the late GSXR600 /R1+R6/Honda (non-unit) pro-link style where the rocker mounts to the swingarm, shock and dogbone to the frame. The Ducati (superbike) system is also of this type, but in the back-to-front version.

In short:
Type 1: shock mounts to same thing as rocker;
Type 2: shock mounts to same thing as dogbone.

It is a continuation of the same chassis philosophy Ducati has used for donkeys years. All they've done is substitute the steel latice for Carbon Fibre, as the steel lattice had reached the end of it's development potential for a variety of reasons as defined by Preziosi and repeated many times over on this site.

So now it seems they've been forced to abondon a material right at the beginning of its development (which has only been this year) and understanding. Shame.

They've said they are using aluminium because of the faster turn-around time in building new designs for testing. It's quite possible that once they find a design that works as they want, they can fabricate a CF version. I hope they do.

and I hope so. Although the faster turn around time angle sounds like spin to me. They're not producing new variations that fast!

Thank God Yamaha tried something different with the crossplane engine. It's down on power to the BMW and Kawi but is a fantastic bike. Japan seems to only want to produce traditional inline 4's. We've asked Honda for a V4 1000cc sportbike for over a decade and it falls on deaf ears. God bless you Yamaha!

So Nicky is now asked to evaluate whatever. Jet lagged and all with about 9 hours on a good day to evaluate what Valentino decided was the path for Ducati.
Ducati made one huge mistake going into 2010. In a nutshell,they put all their eggs in one basket. They never did consider the possibility of a sore pinky finger throwing a spanner in the works. Enough said. I do empathise with Nicky.
Next year,the GP12 will deliver little more than the GP11 is my guess,no matter its guise,resplendant innovation or stereotype alloy beam. The L-4 will retain its magical properties. Ducati's evasion of testing proposed GP12 1000 kit head to head with HRC and Yamaha this year suggests to me they are hamstrung by the hype surrounding one rider in particular. Heads I win,tails you lose. Sadly,Ducati are playing the game within Ducati heirarchy 2011 and not testing the mettle of their rider line up in conjunction with the radically revised bike against their opposition. Its almost as though Ducati have settled for a Championship within a Championship. Best Ducati racer vs other Ducati racers.
A little too late heading into 2012,but Nick can take heart. The 2010 GP big bang flop was laid at his door during Casey's 2009 abscence to a certain extent.
The GP 2012 1000 flop (future hence), will also be attributed to Hayden's failure to provide the correct strategy and feedback for Ducati's 2012 title assault. Nothing to do with Rossi and a pinkey finger. Every army needs pawns. Nicky has accepted the role admirably. Why ?. Beats the hell out of me !!!
We read ad nauseum that Stoner stuffed up the Ducati and thats why Rossi cant deliver on it. Well even Valentino's most ardent supporters are going to find it hard to blame Stoner for the GP12. Nick may be an optional scapegoat given the final one day test.

This is why I have stopped commenting a whole lot on here.

I occasionally read the comments the way that you slow to look at a gruesome wreck.

Nice name!

Strange though that no-one ever thought to christen the 990 M1 with something like "Hondamaha" though cos there was a much similarity there as there is in the current changes!

My word so I'm sticking with it :-) However to appease my sponsors, after the next testing session I will change it to Yamakati and then for the next one I will change it Ducaha if needed. There may be some frustration with that so I will then try Damaha with Yucati as a back up in case I don't make any suitable progress.

My original intention was to cheekily open up the idea that has been voiced by many on this and other forums ie that Rossi and crew are progressively turning the Ducati into something overall very similar in feel to what he was riding at Yamaha (note that I said feel, not design). I love the fact that the Ducati is different and recognise the massive (and mightily frustrating) effort put into trying to improve the design and operation of the machine.

I also think it is a pragmatic approach they are using now because at the moment the Ducati is just not performing as intended. Time to suck it up and produce a new generation of winning machines. Isn't this what prototype racing is all about?

So I guess he was halfway there.

Funny that people should complain that the bike should be more like something that works. Even stranger when you consider that even with a twin spar conventional frame, the Ducati would actually be more like a Suzuki or a Honda (V4's) than a Yamaha. And I haven't heard any requests to abandon Desmodromic valves for pneumatics...

Any news on how Nicky went, it's no surprise that its not front page news now that it's not Rossi on it, but it's a massive moment in time for Ducati they can't sustain the pain the frameless bike dishes out into next year..thought we would have heard something??.

There has been no news on Hayden's times at Jerez. The silence has been completely deafening, and actually a pretty impressive achievement on the part of Ducati. Normally, there's a couple of leaks, but so far, nothing.

Yikes.... you'd think that if times were fast, they'd be shouting from the rooftop.

edit: don't get me wrong, I really hope Nicky's going fast and that Ducati can turn around, so I'm a bit wary of not hearing any news about test times.. or shouldn't I be?

Like a lot of your readers, will be glad when you finally hear something and can report it to us. I am hoping Nicky posted competitive times during the test.

Nicky Hayden has already turned the laps so this question is academic - once Rossi was not going to ride, why did they need to have Hayden fly across the pond for this test? No doubt Ducati rented Jerez and wanted to get their money worth, but they could have just run Vito (is that his name) and some other test riders; they did not NEED to run a factory rider and use one of their last 2012 bike test dates? Further, if Rossi has been the factory rider doing all of the 2012 testing up until now, then why not save the test date until his finger is better? Hayden is an outstanding rider and I am not taking anything away from him, but why introduce another variable (i.e., the rider) to muddy the already murky waters that are the GP12?

I have checked all the sites today and nothing. I'm as interested as when Vale tests. I think it will be something for Ducati if next year the factory AND sat guys are in a better way.

Nicky will be a lot quicker than the test riders and it's a fair guest that the previous ducatis issues only raised their head at racer speeds the test riders seemed pretty happy with it.. Presiozi's comments that there will be no new upgrades does suggest the current design is finished with..
Would like to see what they'v been doing before year end but it's a toss up between having it sorted( they have all winter though it's not long) and telling everyone else they might actually be competitive, depends how close they are whether we see it I expect.. Still can't believe we haven't heard anything but Marlboro haven't announced their leaving so can't be all bad...