Among the developments on offer for factory Ducati race riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden at Mugello this week was a new aluminum swing-arm.

The swing-arm, which could replace the current carbon-fibre design, was confirmed by Ducati Corse General Director Filippo Preziosi following Thursday's second and final day with Rossi and Hayden at the team's private Italian test.

Improved Thursday weather allowed Rossi and Hayden to complete 76 and 81 laps respectively, which were spent 'trying different configurations of the engine, electronics and chassis, among which was a new aluminum swing-arm'.

No lap times were released.

"I'd say it was a very useful test because we were able to gather interesting information on the different areas of the bike for which we had planned a robust test program," said Preziosi.

"We worked on different configurations of the electronics, engine and chassis, including an aluminum swingarm."

Ducati's factory team switched from a pressed-aluminium to carbon-fibre swing-arm during the 2009 MotoGP season.

With the Desmosedici's previous carbon-fibre chassis replaced by a conventional aluminium frame for 2012, Ducati could be on the verge of removing all structural use of the composite.

The next test for the factory Ducati riders will be alongside their grand prix rivals during the official post-race outing at Catalunya on June 4, then Aragon on June 6 - in place of the lost Estoril test.

"Now we want to go to other tracks, which is exactly what we'll do in Barcelona and Aragon, to test the validity of the solutions we've found, in order to understand if we've effectively taken a small step in the right direction," said Preziosi.

Although not specifically mentioned by Preziosi, the proposed Ducati upgrades are also due to include a new smoother engine aimed at improving corner exit characteristics.

The Ducati developments are provisionally scheduled to be introduced from the Silverstone (June 17) MotoGP round onwards, although the limit on engine changes means the full upgrade package is not expected to be available until Laguna Seca (July 29).

Rossi took his best finish as a Ducati rider with a wet second place in last Sunday's French Grand Prix at Le Mans. However Rossi and Hayden remain significantly behind the leading Honda and Yamaha riders in the dry.

Satellite Ducati riders Hector Barbera and Karel Abraham are presently riding an earlier version of this year's GP12.

The Catalan Grand Prix, round five of the 2012 MotoGP championship, takes place from June 1-3.


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Antonio Cobas was the pioneer of the twin spar aluminium frame, if my memory serve me well.

So, while I think going Al frame on a Ducati is something too main stream, no, Al twin spar frame is for sure not a Japanese invention.
I still think that the issue in CF is the ability to trust it (something Casey did) and keep on working with until one find what is the problem. I still think the issue with the Ducati is the weight distribution due to current engine design. Rossi himself say that the current GP12 is difficult to turn, thus aluminum frame by itself solved nothing.