According to both GPone and MCN, Valentino Rossi and Ducati Corse will test a new aluminum frame at Jerez this week. Though the two MotoGP authorities differ on what sot of frame exactly will be used during the test (MCN says twin-spar, while GPone maintains an “open cradle” frame that leaves the motor still as a stressed object). Regardless of the style, the new chassis is reportedly made by FTR, and is another attempt by the Italian racing team to figure out how to solve the vague front-end feeling coming from the Ducati Desmosedici GP11/GP11.1/GP12.

Possibly similar to the chassis style used by Honda and Yamaha, this new frame design marks the fourth major chassis change this year for Ducati. Unable to compete against the top pack on the grid, Rossi has lately even struggled to keep up with his fellow Ducati riders come race day. While technically considered a test for the 2012 season and on the GP12 motorcycle, the results from the Jerez test (Ducati’s seventh test of an allowed eight) could easily find its way onto this season’s Desmosedici.

With Ducati frantically searching for a solution that will put the G.O.A.T. on the podium, this upcoming test at Jerez perhaps signals how lost Ducati has become on its search for solutions. Debuting a more flexible carbon chassis at Estoril early in the 2011 season, Ducati Corse soon abandoned the GP11 for the GP11.1, which was basically the GP12 with the motor modified for the 800cc rules. Unable to make headway on the GP11.1, Ducati recently modified its “frameless chassis”, using an aluminum headstock/airbox at Aragon, with again less than inspiring results.

The team now hopes that moving to a fully-traditional frame will shed some insight onto the problems plaguing the Desmosedici’s front-end. Whether or not the new aluminum frame will make it into racing this year is not clear at this time, but if Ducati is having Valentino Rossi test the setup this quickly after the Aragon GP, you can imagine something is afoot in the Italian camp.

Source: MCN & GPone; Photo: Ducati Corse

  • RJ

    Another day, another chassis… and so goes the Ducati/Rossi saga…

  • Trent

    It’s looking more and more like the long L-twin engine is the issue.

  • Cpt. Slow

    ^ugh, the D16’s engine is not of the two-cylinder variety…

  • Jazzy

    Hate the game, not the G.O.A.T. Everyone keeps hating on Rossi because of the lack of immediate results with Ducati. Just wait and see next season when all the hard work pays off and he’s back on top. Then the haters will say he cheated by setting up the 2012 bike during the 2011 season. Whatever! Bottom line Rossi made Honda, Rossi made Yamaha and he will succeed with Ducati.

  • Trent

    @ Cpt. Slow: ugh yes, I realize it’s an L-four. There was an extensive article published recently which speculated that the L configuration negatively impacts front end feel. Because of its length, either the front tire must be pushed forward, or the swingarm length reduced (and pivot point pushed back). The result I believe is less of the rider’s weight on the front tire.

  • Minibull


    If Ducati have come out and flat out said, “No, the issues are not caused by the L-4 engine at all” then I think it’s fair to say that the engine isnt the issue…

    Tyres, tyres, tyres.

    Tyres that work well with a beam frame…oh look, Ducati will be using a form of beam frame…

  • LutherG

    Perhaps the L Ducati can only be ridden by a very light rider who sits very far over the tank. It’s no mystery to close observers that the rider weight is having a huge effect on tire wear, fuel consumption, and finishing position.
    I would hate if motogp riders look like the Jockeys at the horse track. Though, even they have weight minimums.

  • Minibull

    Since when have the rider weights been affecting the tyre wear? I thought fuel usage and top speed were the main disadvantages for the taller riders. They then have the ability to manouver the bike around more and have a greater influence on it. Pretty sure this was talked about a few months back, with the riders not really caring…:P

    Stoner did well on the (Old) Ducati, and hes not on the smaller side.

  • Beary

    The best Ducati frame for Rossi would be a frame he exits from. Can everyone now see how exceptional a rider Stoner was on the Ducati ? Rossi is quoted as saying ‘I am not going to ride it with my heart in my mouth’ and this is precisely how Stoner won on it.

    My heart goes out to the goat though. He is stuck in no mans land, not able to leave – betraying his Italian Heritage would irrevocably tarnish the legend – but staying with them also is doing the same.

    The Dream Team has become his worst nightmare, and he will finish his first season in 15 years without a single win. He deserves a lot better than that POC bike.

  • @Trent – Checa, Bayliss, Haga, etc. had (or are having) major success with the L-twin. Checa has won WSB races this year several times by seconds on a variety of tracks. Former racer comments on how tight he can turn the Ducati while commenting the narrow-angle V4 Aprilia cannot turn as tightly.

    So how does adding 2 more cylinders point you to the engine being the culprit of Ducati’s GP struggles overwhelmingly more than the chassis being the culprit when there has been all of that success with a twin?

    The GP chassis design has never been used for this type of engine. Could it be that there isn’t enough continuity of feedback of the forces transmitted from the steering neck to the swingarm pivot?

    As successful as the Britten was, I’ve heard there was some differences in the front-end feedback. As you probably know, the V1000 Britten was a narrow 60-degree twin. (was that feel all attributable to the Hossack-style fork or did the frameless chassis also have something to do with it?)

  • …with the “frameless” design, the aluminum or cf airbox structure stops at the engine block. That engine block has 4 pistons raging inside, causing the block metal to resonate in various ways depending on the stroke inside the engine.

    The traditional frame has metal portions that connect to the block but also has a fair amount of metal that is a direct link to the swingarm pivot from the steering neck.

    Is this difference enough to transmit a better feel to the skilled racer? or…another way – is the new design creating “static” feedback to the racer due to the structure picking up more engine resonating fluctuations?

    No matter what, the new streetbike they are working on seems to have not only the L-twin and this new frame structure but a higher price. Good luck

  • nano

    The frame of Jerez is the first real chasis that ducati put on track in the entire season. They delay so much to make this change. This frame they are testing should have been the tested chasis from the first of 8 training days dorna give to teams, but their own stubbornness make this in the 7 day of testing. They waste so much time in a useless concept.
    The problem with ducati is that their resist too much to change their “exclusive” concept of frameless bike… But this is the racing world, not the “exclusive” world. You need the stuf that works, not the fancy and good looking ones to enjoy on a friends weekend ride.

  • Minibull

    @nano: I hardly think its resisting change. Development just takes time, and there is no point rushing with important decisions. It could end up with an even bigger failure and wasted money.
    The stuff that works…in this highly restricted “prototype” series…on spec tyres…with 21L of fuel…

  • armchair expert

    They’ll go nowhere and they’ll get nowhere because they are looking for the “quick-fix” instead of investing the TIME into existing versions. Nicky is as fast if not faster on some tracks because he’s been putting time in only the second version (and he was faster on the first version), Barbera is even faster because they have invested the TIME and MILES into the same bike.
    So VR will test another version, and naturally start out at the back,, then get impatient and blame the bike for being slow, then try another ,, instead of sticking with it for a while.

    If it were easy to create a better bike over the period of a few weekends Honda and Yamaha would have the next 3 years worth of bike already worked out.

  • “Flex!!” the small carbon airbor stress member doesn’t give the riders the feel or flex they need out of the bike to push.. And when they do push hey end up on the floor from the lack of tire grip.. No enough flex = not enough mechanical grip.. Have friends in the Ducati camp and word is they’re testing a FULL Aluminum frame for feedback only to fab. one from carbon fiber for the GP12!!