Ducati has confirmed that Valentino Rossi
and Nicky Hayden
will use 'some' new updates during this weekend's US MotoGP at Laguna Seca.
Ducati tried a range of chassis, engine and electronic developments at the recent Mugello test.
However the big power-delivery modifications, initially expected in the form of a 'new' engine for Laguna Seca, will instead be introduced through a series of new parts, fitted gradually over several races.
“At Laguna we'll continue working with the settings that we've been perfecting for a few races according to our riders' respective needs, and we'll seal the fourth [of this year's six] engines for both [riders],” said team manager Vittoriano Guareschi.
“Like the third one, already in use, it was made in a way that makes it possible to install new parts that are intended to improve rideability. For this race, we'll have some of the updates that we tried at the Mugello test, and those will be followed in the next races by subsequent evolutions.”
The other upgrades tried at Mugello included efforts to improve mass centralisation, also aimed at cutting understeer, although Rossi was forced to halt testing early when he fell due to a glitch with a new 'interim' engine management system.
“Although my last test at Mugello was ended early, we were able to begin working with some details, and we'll probably be able to use some of them at Laguna, even if we're talking about a small percentage of the package that they're working on at Ducati,” said Rossi.
Individually, Rossi, Hayden and Ducati are all former Laguna Seca MotoGP winners.
“Laguna is a difficult track, with many bumps and a lot of elevation change, but at the same time it's beautiful and fun, in part because it's rather old-style. I really like the fans and the general feel,” said Rossi, who won for Yamaha in 2008.
The seven time MotoGP champion has taken one podium so far this year and finished sixth for Ducati at Laguna Seca last year.
“Last year we went okay at Laguna, so we'll see what happens this weekend,” he said.
Team-mate Hayden took home US GP victories for Honda in 2005 and 2006. Hayden's Ducati future is presently unclear but he has a simple goal for this weekend - to get his best result of the year, which would mean fifth place or higher.
“Of course I like Laguna, so I'm excited to go there and see my home crowd and all my friends in the AMA paddock,” said the 2006 world champion. “We've been getting a little closer to the front lately, but now is no time to rest. We have to keep working, because now the gains will be more difficult.
“Laguna is certainly not easy, and I doubt the lap times will be much different with the 1000s than they were with the 800s. I'm not even sure we'll use sixth gear, and as was the case at the Sachsenring, we'll probably spend a lot of time working with the wheelie control and just trying to use that power when it's available.
“The new tyres should work better at Laguna, especially in the colder mornings and on the right side. My goal is clear: go there, have fun, and try to get the best result of the season.”
Ducati's only US GP victory to date came with Casey Stoner