2012 Misano Post-Race Test: Rossi And Hayden Happy With Progress On New Chassis

Ducati completed an extra day of testing at Misano on Monday, with both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden turning laps on a range of new material brought to the track after Sunday's race at the Italian circuit, while Ducati test rider Franco Battaini worked on developments for the electronics systems of the Desmosedici. The test was judged to be very positive, according to the press release issued after the test, and for once, there was probably more truth than PR spin in that statement.

Rossi tested a new swingarm and a new chassis, with identical geometry but revised stiffness to the frame he raced at Misano on Sunday. The frame, the third to be tested this year, was not a complete success, helping in some areas but creating new problems in others. But the swingarm was a big improvement, providing the edge grip that Rossi had lacked and helping to calm the rear on corner exit, one of Rossi's two major problems with the Ducati.

Nicky Hayden, meanwhile, did two short exits on both his existing and the chassis raced by Rossi on Sunday, comparing the two chassis back to back. Despite not being able to push at 100% because of his hand injury, Hayden noticed a marked improvement with the new chassis, which helps with braking, corner entry and turning. Hayden had to call it a day after those two outings, his hand not capable of  bearing any more strain. Andrea Iannone, who had been standing by to test if Hayden had not been fit enough, ended up not riding the bike.

The Ducati is showing signs of real progress, though there is still some way to go. More is still to come, Ducati Corse boss Filippo Preziosi stating his aim of providing a fourth iteration of the chassis for the final race at Valencia. That chassis would incorporate the positive aspects of the third-generation chassis tested by Rossi at Misano, with some modifications to fix the negative points highlighted by Rossi. 

Preziosi's statements in the press release appear to be aimed at countering the criticism aimed at the Ducati Corse boss, some of which has been emanating from Jeremy Burgess himself, who had accused Ducati of not providing updates fast enough to keep Valentino Rossi's motivation up. Preziosi made clear that changes were both being provided and that more were on their way, but he also made a point of stating that the rate of development would be stepped up a gear, with new parts arriving faster. 

After two long years of struggling, Ducati is showing the first signs of a revival. The decision by Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies to sign with Ducati was initially met with incredulity. Now, though, it is starting to look like a fairly shrewd move.

Below is the Ducati press release issued after Monday's test:

Promising test for Ducati Team at Misano

Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden returned to action today at Misano for a one-day test that the Ducati Team spent doing chassis and electronics tests.

The American, who only rode in the morning due to his still-healing right hand, tried the frame and swingarm that his teammate had used in yesterday’s race, and he had a positive first impression. Meanwhile, Valentino tried a version that had the same geometry but a different stiffness.

Franco Battaini work on testing electronic developments.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 53 laps

“It was a good day. Today we tried a different chassis that had a different stiffness, but honestly, I didn’t like it a lot. It was an improvement in some areas, but we had some new problems in other areas. In the end, it’s not a real improvement, so I don’t think we’ll use it again. But the positive thing is that we tried a new swingarm that I liked a lot because it gave me more edge grip and more rear grip under acceleration, and it helps the bike to stay more stable on corner exits. So of the two things, one worked. I think we’ll use the new swingarm starting in Aragon, so there we’ll see what our potential is on another track.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 14 laps

“In order not to stress my hand too much, we only did two runs today—one with basically my race bike, and one with the new frame—but it was nice to get an idea of the chassis. I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to notice the difference, but I could actually feel more than I expected. I felt better with it, for sure. I had more confidence because there’s better front grip for braking into the corners, and because of that, also better turning. I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction, straight away, and I’m happy with the work Ducati has done. Because I was able to brake a bit differently, I’ll probably need to stiffen the fork spring a bit, but already, it was a good step. I’m quite happy, and at Aragon we’ll start to work on the setup.”

Filippo Preziosi, Technical Director

“It was a very useful test: We had prepared a chassis that was the same as that used by Valentino in yesterday’s race in terms of geometry, but different in terms of rigidity. Valentino gave us feedback that will allow us to design an evolution that has the positive characteristics that he noticed, and which match what we expected from the calculations we had made, but without losing precision. We also had a different swingarm that Valentino liked, so we’ll bring it to Aragon. Nicky did his first comparison between the pre-Misano frame and swingarm and those used by Valentino yesterday. His initial comments were positive, but we’ll have to check again at Aragon when his physical condition is better. Based on the data we gathered today, we’re speeding up production of the next step of the frame, which could arrive before Valencia.”

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That after Filippo almost bout to Furusawa at his own home and they had a really long chat about frame design and then....

Sir, I’m from Costa Rica and I would just like to let you know that watching the race weekend and reading your site go hand by hand for me (when I see the new round up article of the day or a special article it's like xmas), really beautiful journalism David, this is hard to find in the internet's never ending toxic waste dump of ideas and opinions; thank you.

Preziosi is surely tongue in cheek.. Rossi has handed his notice in before any real updates that weren't further attempts to rescue the 'frameless' debacle.. In the words of Johnny Mathis, 'too much, too little, too late to ever try again'. If anything the recent improvements show what a complete waste ducati have made of the huge resource that is Rossi/JB and team.
Agree with you Luigi, Furasawa may well have let slip(intentionally) a little more than he made out. The fact he flew to ducati showed he had a desire to wave his magic wand at the conundrum we may even find out in the future.

Any idea why our favorite Maniac didn't get a shot at Hayden's bike? Ducati can be terribly frustrating - they seem terribly unorganized at times.

is what Mr P is eating it seems to me.
It was great to see the performance at the weekend but cautious optimism due to the nature of Misano and Ducati's experience there.
If this is a real 'dawn' then perhaps Mr P can save himself, especially if the real reason it has taken taken 2 years to do this is that Ducati/Phillip Morris wouldn't or couldn't fund the necessary R&D whilst Ducati was up for sale.
Perhaps Rossi and Burgess will get it fixed in the last 80 seconds.....

Then its a huge step forward,then its not quoth Burgess and Rossi.
Furasawa and Preziosi exchanged some pleasantries and engineering philosophies regarding GP bikes and thats about it. No doubt Preziosi felt obliged to bring Yamaha M1 philosophy to the table at the behest of Rossi to secure his services for 2013 and beyond.

re: "Based on the data we gathered today, we’re speeding up production of the next step of the frame, which could arrive before Valencia.”

no more chatter from the masses of "narrowing the V"... thank you.

"After two long years of struggling, Ducati is showing the first signs of a revival. The decision by Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies to sign with Ducati was initially met with incredulity. Now, though, it is starting to look like a fairly shrewd move."....DE

Pleeze, 2 years?....How does 1 test where the latest chassis irritation is dumpster bound portend anything other than continuation of the operatic tragedy?

I embrace the wishful thinking involved, but to suggest that Spies & Dovi are now of the belief their decision to join Corse had anymore romance than an arranged marriage; & somehow demontrated an act of supernatural prescience, is either blind cheerleading or delusional.

Sorry, but I doubt this is any Great Leap Forward. To get second on a factory bike with a decimated field is not a leap forward. I doubt Lorenzo was pacing himself over 90% of his ability. If he was I'd expect rossi would have been his normal 25-35 seconds in arrears.

The problems don't lie with Ducati, they lie with the riders they have presently.

And as a big Spies fan over the years until this last race..........he's toast in MOTOGP imho. A great rider but not in MOTOGP. Shoulda gone to BMW or Aprilla (they NEED a decent rider imho and don't have one of those right now), although Aprilla was never mentioned. Hope he makes a load of dough riding the Ducati though. Probably more than he'd have made in WSBK.