Rossi and the Ducati Marlboro MotoGP team are testing the 2012 edition of the Desmosedici April 8 at Spain’s Jerez circuit to prepare for next season. Normally, MotoGP regulations severely limit the amount of testing riders can do through the year, but with the engine displacement rules changing from its current 800cc limit to a maximum to 1000cc, series organizers are allowing exceptions.
The Ducati Desmosedici GP12 actually made its debut April 7 in a shakedown test with test riders Franco Battaini and Vittoriano Guareschi (who also happens to be the team manager). Friday’s test was Rossi’s first opportunity on the GP12 though. Rossi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden, will get his chance to ride the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at Jerez on April 9 after he completes a promotional appearance in Germany.
“We chose to have our factory riders – today Vale, tomorrow Nicky – try the bike beginning with its first test, because we think their feedback is essential for starting us on the right path for the early development,” says Filippo Preziosi, Ducati Corse technical director. “To be able to work with Vale for a full day is more than any technician could ask. We gathered considerable feedback that we’ll translate into further design and development for next year’s bike.”
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“I’m happy,” Rossi said after the test. “I like the GP12. In my opinion, it’s more enjoyable, more fun to ride. It was the first time we had it on the track, so we had some work to do, but the engine is nicer. It’s a lot of fun, and you can do some nice slides. It’s the bike we’ll ride next year, so it was very important and also very nice – to be among the first to take it on the track.”
Rossi started out with an initial run of six laps in the morning and another 44 laps through the day.
“The positive thing is that the technical choices made for the GP12 in the initial planning phase, in 2010 – and I’m referring primarily to the engine, which is still a big-bang, and to the rear end – were endorsed by Valentino,” says Preziosi. “This gives us great satisfaction, and we’re optimistic about the work that still remains to be done. We know that our competitors are also working hard and developing their 2012 bikes, but that just makes the challenge better.”
Visit our Valentino Rossi Ducati Desmosedici GP12 Test gallery for more pictures.