News 9 Nov 2011

Rossi positive with first steps on Ducati 1000cc, Hayden out injured

Valentino Rossi and Ducati finally unveiled the twin-spar frame that they'll race with in 2012.

Valentino Rossi and Ducati finally unveiled the twin-spar frame that they'll race with in 2012.

Ducati’s Valentino Rossi started the important work of collecting information in preparation for the 2012 winter test season at Valencia on Tuesday, trying out a long list of setups with the team, under the supervision of technical director Filippo Preziosi.

Using a twin-spar aluminium frame, Rossi was sixth fastest with a 1:33.857, a positive result on a bike that Ducati are claiming is simply a test mule before the official Desmosedici GP12 is complete.

“This bike is nicer to ride than the 800, even if we’re only just starting our work,” Rossi said. “You can say that it’s improved in some respects, while in others, it’s very similar to the other bike, but that’s exactly what we expected. We know we’re doing preparatory work for the bike that we’ll use in the 2012 winter tests, which are very important.

“The engine seems to be pretty good already. It’s fast, although I never really found myself with the others to do a direct comparison. On the other hand, I’m a little slower in mid-corner, and we also have to try to improve rear grip because for now, we’re not able to get the power to the ground and take full advantage of it.

“But it’s not bad for a first taste, and the really important thing is that we can work more freely, changing the bike’s balance, the weight distribution, the measurements, and whatever we need as we prepare for the important next three months of work.”

Nicky Hayden made a late decision not to take part in the test, due to injuries incurred when he was taken out in the first turn during Sunday’s Grand Prix.

X-rays to his right hand shortly after the fall proved negative, but an MRI today revealed non-displaced fractures to his scaphoid and radial styloid.

“This morning I put my leathers on to go out, but I was still pretty uncomfortable,” Hayden said. “I went to the mobile clinic for a painkiller, and when I got there, the doctor said it would be better to get a proper scan. They set me up for an MRI at a local clinic, and the fractures were pretty clear.

“After talking to the doctor and my physiotherapist, we decided not to ride, even though we do have some stuff we’d like to test for Ducati. The scaphoid is a unique bone, and if you mess with it, it can take a long time to heal because it gets limited blood supply.

“I just have to be smart and watch the test. We’ll get some more opinions and decide whether to get surgery.”