MotoGP tests can sometimes seem like little more than extended practice sessions, but Monday at Brno was a real day of experimentation for Valentino Rossi and Ducati.
Still seeking to understand the modified GP11.1, introduced after Silverstone (round six) to try and solve a lack of front-end feel, Rossi spent his 74 laps trying a range of 'extreme setup solutions'.
Ducati Corse technical director Filippo Preziosi explained why.
“With Valentino, we decided to use this test day with the 800 in order to try very extreme set-up solutions, with the goal of giving the engineers guidance for the next-generation bikes," he said.
"Therefore, we brought parts that allowed us to make much bigger adjustments than is normally possible.
"Practically, these are tests that help us to understand what happens when you move the centre of gravity significantly or increase stiffness by an extreme amount, and so on. The mid-term goal is to build the base knowhow for the bike of the future."
In terms of lap time, there was little obvious breakthrough, with Rossi finishing the test 1.5sec behind the fastest 800cc bike of Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and 0.7sec behind his own team-mate Nicky Hayden, also now using the GP11.1.
That was not a great surprise, given the magnitude of the adjustments, although Rossi also had some electronic developments that could provide a more immediate performance gain.
“It was a very busy day, not only because we did almost 75 laps, but also because we tried many changes in every outing. It's not easy riding like that, as it requires a lot of concentration," revealed Rossi.
"We had some electronic updates that we still have to perfect, but we'll return to those soon.
"Apart from that, we were thinking more toward the future, mainly trying different geometries, weight distributions, and settings that were a little strange, everything to remove any doubts and to understand some things about the GP11.1.
"I'd say it was a successful test, even if we sacrificed some performance since we had other objectives. We also tried some new tyres from Bridgestone, and the first impression was good.”