After giving the green light to new chassis and engine updates at the post-race Estoril test, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden will put some of the latest Desmosedici developments to a competitive test at this weekend's French MotoGP at Le Mans.
Whilst the new chassis can be put to immediate use, MotoGP's limit of six engines for a season means the team will have to wait until mileage on the present powerplants has been exhausted before running the revised engine.
“Nicky and Valentino were both pleased with the work we did during the post-race test at Estoril, and now the team will try to do everything it can to adapt to the GP11 to a circuit that's very different from the one in Portugal,” said team manager Vittoriano Guareschi.
“Once again we're hoping for a sunny weekend, since every hour of track time in “normal” conditions is very important for us because of the work we're doing.”
Historically, the stop-and-go circuit has proven to be a demanding track for Ducati, which has taken just two podiums since its 2003 MotoGP debut - with Loris Capirossi (second) in 2006 and Casey Stoner (third) in 2007.
However, Hayden was fourth last year and is hopeful his GP11 can make gains in the many braking zones.
“Traditionally, Le Mans hasn't been a good track for me. I've never had a podium or a front row there, but I was fourth there last year, which was my best-ever result,” said Hayden. “You can't really make too much out of that, but we'll try to take the information we collected during the test at Estoril and see if we can put it to good use in France.
“One good thing I look forward to is that I think the best strength of our bike right now is stability under hard braking, and Le Mans has a lot of hard braking. Traditionally, the grip there isn't very good, so that's something we're probably really going to have to work on. We'll go there and see what we've got.”
Hayden has taken Ducati's only podium of this season with third in the wet at Jerez, while Rossi has finished fifth in the last two races.
The seven time MotoGP champion Rossi is a former three-time winner of the Le Mans MotoGP race - earning victories in 2002, 2005 and 2008, along with another four podiums.