Ducati Corse general manager Filippo Preziosi has explained the technical status of the satellite Ducati riders for the start of the 2012 MotoGP season.
In addition to the factory GP12s of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, two satellite Desmosedicis will also be on the grid this year - one for Hector Barbera (Pramac) and the other for Karel Abraham (Cardion AB).
Satellite Ducati riders have had a tough time in recent seasons, but Barbera left last week's opening test of 2012, at Sepang, in an impressive sixth place. The Spaniard was also the top satellite rider and only 0.1sec slower than Rossi.
But Barbera and Abraham (twelfth fastest, 1.3sec behind Barbera) do not presently have the same version of GP12 as the factory team.
Instead they are using the previous 'Valencia' bike - so-called because it was debuted by Rossi at November's post-race test. This has been developed in parallel to the 'all-new' GP12, which made its debut at Sepang. Both types of bike have a full aluminium twin-spar frame.
“We have developed the Valencia bike for the satellite teams, based on the same analysis and results from that test. So we have brought some special parts [to Sepang] for the satellite bikes,” said Preziosi. “Hector is very happy about his new bike and is the top satellite rider.
“The electronics are already the same [as the factory bikes],” Preziosi added. “All the engineers can make different electronic choices. Which they think is better for their rider. But the system is the same.”
Looking ahead to the start of the racing season, Preziosi explained that proven mechanical parts will be made available from the factory team, should Pramac and Cardion AB want them.
“Our strategy is to develop new things for the factory team and when it is proven that the reliability is good and development is quite stable then we will offer them to the satellite teams,” he said.
“It depends on time, money and performance if they decide [they want them]. But I think that Hector is quite happy with his bike and there is further potential with that bike, before thinking about changing it.”
Ducati supported four satellite MotoGP riders in 2011, the best of whom was Barbera, who finished eleventh in the championship for the Aspar Team. Aspar has switched to Aprilia CRT bikes for 2012.