Ducati: Full upgrade package for Laguna Seca
8 May 2012
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden will have to wait until round ten of the MotoGP World Championship, at Laguna Seca, for a full package of upgrades to the Ducati GP12.
That was the verdict of Ducati Corse general manager Filippo Preziosi, who said that a series of technical developments - including a new engine specification for improved drivability - will now be worked on in upcoming tests at Mugello.
Speaking after Monday's post-race Estoril test was abandoned due to poor weather, Preziosi explained:
“We are working on improving the driveability. Part of this is an engine that has more torque at low rpm and less power at high revs, to help when you open the throttle at full lean.”
This could also improve the understeer issue, one of Rossi's biggest complaints with the GP12.
“A smoother response could help avoid understeer, but we are also doing some other activities on the chassis side to reduce the understeer,” said Preziosi.
"We think we will end up with a complete [upgrade] package for Laguna Seca.
“The plan is to test at Mugello with Valentino in May, and Nicky in May, June and July. July is a post-race test and May and June are private tests.
“We will test new things from the first test, but some of the other things will only arrive in June and July.
“At the Mugello race [round nine, July 15] we will not have the total package because the engine driveability package is related to the use of the engine,” added Preziosi, referring to the six engine-changes (per rider) per season allowed in MotoGP.
However, Preziosi said the first of the new-spec engines could be introduced for the mid-June British Grand Prix at Silverstone (round six).
“If the riders are happy with the changes, we are ready to supply the third engine for Silverstone with the new spec.
“The idea is to seal engine number three [for this season] in Silverstone and number four in Laguna, according to the mileage.
“So we will not have the total package at Mugello. This is unfortunate, because Valentino likes the race a lot and it is our home track."
After three rounds, Hayden and Rossi are eighth and ninth in the championship standings, with 23 and 22 points respectively.
At the same stage last season, the pair were fourth and fifth, with 31 (Rossi) and 30 (Hayden) points.
Preziosi insisted Ducati remains determined to create a motorcycle that suits seven time MotoGP champion Rossi.
“We believe that a bike Valentino likes, is a good bike for all riders,” he said. “We are following the direction he suggests at the best of our capability, which is not enough right now to be faster than Honda. But for sure we will try in the direction that Valentino shows us.”
In terms of machine set-up, Preziosi said that Rossi and crew chief Jerry Burgess always have the final say.
“We give Jeremy 100% freedom to define with Valentino what the best set-up is. As Ducati, our duty is just to supply material.
“We can suggest what our ideas are, but the final decision, day by day, practice by practice, is made by Jeremy speaking with Valentino."
Round four of the MotoGP World Championship, the French Grand Prix, takes place on May 18-20.
Le Mans was the scene of Rossi's only Ducati podium to date.