Ducati is to test the latest version of their Desmosedici GP12 engine next week at Mugello. Ducati team manager Vitto Guareschi said that Franco Battaini is to start testing the bike, complete with the new engine, next week, in preparation for handing the machine over to Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi for a final test on the Monday after the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. If that test is successful, then both factory Ducati riders will have the new engine available as part of their allocation from Laguna Seca, the race directly after Mugello.

Much rides on the new engine: Valentino Rossi has repeatedly expressed his hopes that the improvements the new engine should offer will allow him to make a big step towards closing the gap with the front-runners. That improvement should come from improved driveability, the main focus of development for Filippo Preziosi and the Ducati Corse department.

“The aim is to improve the first touch of the throttle,” Guareschi said, the area in which the Ducati has suffered the most. “Driveability is very important for the 1000’s, even more so than the 800’s,” Guareschi added. “The 1000’s have much more torque than the 800s, which makes it harder for the rider to use the power.”

Though Guareschi would not be drawn on the exact changes to the engine, it would not be radically different to the existing power plant, Guareschi said. Contrary to expectations, the layout of the engine would remain unchanged.

“The hardware looks the same,” Guareschi said. The reason for not radically revising the engine layout was because Ducati Corse was still gathering data, and the information from the new engine would give them more data to work with. “We want to understand what we need before making a big change,” Guareschi said.

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.