Ducati To Test Brand New GP12 At Jerez From Tuesday

The missing star of Ducati's Wrooom launch event is to make its debut behind closed doors tomorrow. Ducati test rider Franco Battaini and 2011 World Superbike champion Carlos Checa are to take the redesigned GP12 for its first shakedown test at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain tomorrow, under the watchful gaze of team boss Vitto Guareschi. Once the test has been concluded, the new Desmosedicis - freshly assembled by Ducati's team at their Bologna factory last week - will be shipped to Malaysia for the first official MotoGP tests to be held at Sepang, where factory riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi will get their first ride on the bike.

Though the test will be held in private, with little if any information likely to make it out into the public domain, the test will be key to Ducati's 2012 season. Though the bike was not presented at Ducati's launch in the Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio, Ducati Corse boss Filippo Prezioso did talk about the bike extensively, explaining to some extent how they had changed the bike based on the data obtained from last year, and especially from the Valencia test with the aluminium twin spar chassis. The engine is thought to have been redesigned, most probably retaining the 90° angle between the cylinder banks, but with the engine rolled back substantially. This change should allow the engine to be moved forward, to move the center of mass of the bike a little, and also allowing a different seating position, something that Valentino Rossi complained about throughout 2011. Changing the engine was something that had long been predicted, despite Preziosi's protestations that the engine layout was not the problem.

The members of the test team will have different priorities: while Franco Battaini will concentrate on checking that everything is working correctly, Carlos Checa will focus on the behavior of the revised bike, GPOne.com reports. Though their input will be useful, the real test of the bike will come at Sepang, starting on January 31st. So though no times will be released from Jerez, the times there will be largely irrelevant. What matters will be the times being posted by Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden in two weeks' time in Malaysia.

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It's a brand new bike, and I know testing must be crucial, but I almost and probably ignorantly wish that Nicky would skip this test and give his shoulder/bones that much more time to heal completely. Let Rossi give it a shakedown, they're all going to share data, and if Nicky can't perform at 100% at the level to see if the bike's performing, then what's the point?

Non-sequitor: really crossing my fingers for Marquez' recovery as well. MotoGP *needs* these guys to be fit and get better.

Oh lord, we beseech thee - please let the damned thing be competitive - I can't take another year of making excuses for Rossi :)

I'm really puzzled by the mystery surrounding the launch of the new Ducati! Do they really think that someone would copy their "solutions"?! Or maybe, they don't have any solutions.

perhaps they want to wait with bad news for rossi until the sepang test ...

didn't have it finished in time for the PR wank-fest in the snow. As has been pointed out by everyone from Stoner to Burgess, this is not HRC we're talking about, they do it differently. Even with the torrent of Rossi dollars it's still a small operation and in spite of the outsourcing still fairly Italian.
With all the revision, redesign and remanufacture that's been going on, I'd say they'll be drilling holes in the fairings and zip tie-ing on bits and pieces on the morning of the test. :-)

They probably need to do it, but using a conventional frame like the Japanese bikes just makes Ducati that much less interesting to me if I'm honest. It's a great pity that Rossi couldn't take the carbon bike by the scruff of the neck like Stoner could, but also a great vindication of Stoner's ability. My prediction is that things won't improve dramatically for Ducati this year - rather it will be a pretty dull era of fair to midding results at best for them.

Oh, the heady days of 2007 when the steel trellis bike a raw speed advantage and tyres that were specifically designed for it.

In 2008 Stoner lost his title because the other teams got their pneumatic valves to work and Ducati lost out when the Bridgestone rubber fell into the hands of the other riders.

In 2009 Stoner won 4 times, then 3 times in 2010 on the CF monocoque bike against depleted opposition.

I'm not knocking Stoner but his results on the CF bike are not as stellar as some people would have you believe...

Look, I think the bike will be a massive improvement & that everyone at Ducati is being extremely coy. Your telling me that Burgess (with 20 yrs of mechanical / technical expirience in the preimer class) wouldn't just know from certain measurements, geometery, weight balance / transfer, wheel base & ride height what the bike will do & how it will act? They just need to build a bike around the tires, which Burgess was involved in prior with Yamaha. They look at the drawings and say thats what we need to make it work, they've all seen what works & know what works. It's just about Ducati translating that information from a drawing to a real bike. Which I'm sure they would have tried their best, espeically given last years efforts. Im not saying that the red menace will be up the sharp end straight away, we all seen what happened last time there was a capacity change. Obviously, things are different with the electronics playing a much larger part. However, I think it will be fairly even after 3 races. Which for us, the fans will bring some great racing.

Your telling me that Burgess (with 20 yrs of mechanical / technical expirience in the preimer class) wouldn't just know from certain measurements, geometery, weight balance / transfer, wheel base & ride height what the bike will do & how it will act?

If he could do that, they could have fixed the old one 11 months ago, no?

Graham, i've followed your comments here and on mcnews.com.au with interest for a long time, as you appear to be a voice of reaon.

However,.....Casey Stoner has long said Ducati didn't have the resources, or the wherewithal to effect the changes he was wanting while he was there.

My issue with your statement is perhaps more of a question.
What if Jeremy Burgess was requesting certain changes as did Casey Stoner, but the requests were at odds with the factory deign philosophy?

Then who's fault was that?

Indeed, I've never been any part of th Ducati Corse organisation. But Casey Stoner has often repeated th point that he wnted certain changes made, bu were never forthcoming.

And i still remember Troy Bayliss, interviewed on channel 10 in his second year with the factory team, not wanting to sledge anyone, but clerlly unhappy with the drection of development.

Perhaps the real issue, is why has it taken the factory so long to see sense?

An pologies fo any remining typos, but this has been typed on one of the most overatred pieces of technological excrement invented, the icrap....sorry, hat hould be ipad.

Hi Rod,
I think what you say is possible, but it would depend a lot on what he was asking for. Obviously at some point it was a twin-spar frame with lots of adjustability... and that took some time.

However you seemed to be suggesting it was just a question of geometry... and they did try a lot of things there, under Burgess last year if not under Stoner and his team earlier. None of them worked, it seems. It's possible that was because the engine format was a deal breaker, but on that Preziosi's comment was correct: they weren't running the front head up against the tyre, so the issue was a bit more subtle than just weight distribution.

Part of the problem may be that a long engine is outside Burgess's experience: maybe someone who knows the tricks of setting up Ducati twin (like Bayliss's WSBK crew) would recognise a solution faster than someone who has spent all his career working with compact engines putting lots of weight on the front.

Or maybe the problem is now much more sophisticated and involves vibration decay modes of different materials: the 2012 Suter M2 frame has now appeared with carbon wrapped over the alloy spars, just to add yet another variant! Burgess has always had a "cut the BS, try the simple things first" attitude, which previously has worked well. The Ducati GP11 appears to have marked the limits of that approach.

Anyway, at least it has provided some visible technical interest :) Let's see what happens at Sepang...

Burgess is not an engineer. It is not up to him to design the parts - it's his role to provide feedback & offer advice for improvement. We'll see this year if it has been done.

re: "The engine is thought to have been redesigned, most probably retaining the 90° angle between the cylinder banks, but with the engine rolled back substantially. This change should allow the engine to be moved forward"

my guess is there will be no narrowing of the V and no rolling back about the centerline of the crank since the engine was already "rolled back" from it's inception relative to the L-twin. as preziosi indicated, they always had the option (and space) of moving the engine forward. for whatever reason, the engine seemed to be going backward and the swingarm getting shorter. iinm, this began at the tail end of the casey era and actually improved his results. something about better rear grip from the bridgestone...? or maybe sorting that suspension pump issue driving out of corners...? or both...?