News 21 Jun 2011

Rossi to make shock debut on 2012-spec chassis at Dutch TT

Italian legend makes switch to 2011-2012 hybrid for the remainder of this year's MotoGP season.

Valentino Rossi seen here testing the GP12 at Mugello, will ride a 2011-2012 hybrid at Assen.

Valentino Rossi seen here testing the GP12 at Mugello, will ride a 2011-2012 hybrid at Assen.

Italian legend Valentino Rossi will debut Ducati’s 2012-spec chassis at Assen this weekend in a shock move that will see the manufacturer fast-forward its plans while focusing on development for next year.

Rossi will take to the track with the next generation of the bike, called the GP11.1. The design process for this bike began after the Sepang tests, with construction beginning after the riders approved the GP12’s chassis during its first test at Jerez.

For the GP11.1, the Corse Department prepared an 800cc engine that installs in the chassis that Ducati engineers are developing for 2012.

The bike will also use a new gearbox, the ‘DST- Ducati Seamless Transmission’, the design process for which began in 2010.

“Filippo [Preziosi], the guys at Ducati and the Test Team have worked really hard, and that has enabled us to make this new step with the development of our bike,” Rossi commented.

“We haven’t had the chance to test the 800 since Estoril, so we’ll do it during the race weekends, being aware that despite having very limited time, we’ll have to focus on two jobs: making basic adjustments to the new technical parts, and finding a general setup for the race on Saturday.

“We’ll have to do a good job on the track in order to get the most out of the work done at the factory. It will be hard, and we know it might take some time before we can completely reach the potential of the whole package, but we’re happy and motivated by the work we’re doing.”

Preziosi said it was done in plan of accelerating development of next year’s MotoGP bike, even if it will feature a 1000cc engine at that point.

“We decided to make the GP11.1, which is an 800cc engine in a GP12 chassis, in order to accelerate development on next year’s bike, and also to provide our riders with a potentially better base for the current championship,” Preziosi said.

“Considering that Valentino still hasn’t ever ridden the GP11.1, this decision could require some races for the team to completely take advantage of its potential, but we decided to move forward with it because we believe it’s an important step for our development process.

“The next-generation gearbox, on the other hand, is a solution that we think will be an immediate improvement. The Ducati Corse Department will continue studying further innovations, both for this year and for 2012.

“At the same time, we have developed an additional step for the frame for Nicky, and he’ll receive the GP11.1 at Laguna Seca.”

Hayden, who has already used four engines this season, will use a GP11 equipped with the step-two frame, whose stiffness has been further modified compared to the step-one version that was introduced at the Estoril test.

According to the engine-rotation schedule, he will ride the GP11.1 at Laguna Seca.