Ducati Corse’s winter break is finally over, as the Italian MotoGP squad has assembled in Madonna di Campiglio for Wrooom 2012, the team’s season kick-off party jointly held with Ferrari’s F1 contingency. Traditionally the ski-filled week-long media event involves interviews with the riders, an unveiling of the Ducati race bike, and a technical briefing, but this year is a little different.
With nary a Ducati Desmosedici GP12 to be found, today’s interviews, with both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, explained the current state of Ducati Corse, and set the expectations for the 2012 MotoGP season. Announcing that a new Ducati race bike had been designed (apparently existing only in the computers of the Italian company), the team is optimistic about its chances, but also cautious about it’s likely results, especially early on in the season.
Hopping to make forward-progress on Honda and Yamaha at the Sepang test later this month, Ducati’s focus is to make logical steps on its competition, and hopes that its new GP12 (we’re not even going to hazard a guess at it’s internal designation), provides the answers on track that the team struggled to find last season.
The new Ducati Desmosedici GP12 is said to be completely new, which almost certainly means a new chassis design, and possibly even a revised engine. Echoing a sentiment often heard in the MotoGP paddock, the GP12 is reportedly better-built around the Bridgestone tires that will be used in 2012, the failure of which last year was a major factor in the team’s front-end woes.
“For this year, Filippo [Preziosi] designed a different bike, and they’ve made a big effort at Ducati to have it in time for the start of the winter tests,” said Valentino Rossi. “I visited the factory and saw it on a computer, and it’s beautiful. We’re not expecting it to be immediately perfect at Sepang, but rather to understand if we’ve worked in the proper direction. We’re very realistic, and our goal is to reduce the gap to our competition, step by step, working in a logical way, and from there to be able to refine the details in order to be competitive and to try and win.”
“One of the most important things for going fast is to make the tires work as they’re able to, so together with Filippo, we’ve tried to come up with a bike that will let them perform as well as possible,” continued Rossi. “We’ll see if we’ve managed it. I like working with Ducati. I feel good here because there’s a nice atmosphere and we all have faith.”
While Ducati has seemingly taken a more clean-slate approach (we will know more about the changes that have been made when the finalized GP12 is debuted at Sepang), the return to the 1,000cc format will likely not change the sport as significantly as many fans are hoping. Cautiously expressing as much in his thoughts, Nicky Hayden reminded the assembled press that the because of the advances in tires and electronics, the extra horsepower of the 1,000cc bikes will be tempered, and not exactly like what it was during the 990cc era.
“I never made any secret that I prefer the new displacement to the 800s,” said Hayden. “Although I think things will be much different than in 2006, beginning with the tires, and the electronics have also come a long way. We’ll have more power, and we’ll have to find the right balance between controlling it while still taking as much advantage of it as we can.”
Source: Ducati Corse