Ducati has just completed 1,000 kilometers of testing with four different riders, including Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, aboard next year’s race bike, the 1,000cc GP12 at Jerez. Ducati caught the Japanese factories off guard when MotoGP switched from 990cc to 800cc several years ago, and Casey Stoner blew everyone away as a result. This time, Ducati is not only getting an early start, they have Valentino Rossi and his legendary crew chief Jeremy Burgess to help out with development.
The 1000cc bike is obviously very far along. Ducati clearly had this bike in mind when it hired Rossi/Burgess, and retained Hayden. The dirt track bred Hayden strongly favors the point-and-shoot style of riding that goes along with the bigger engine, like the 990cc bike he rode to the title many years ago. 2011 is just starting, but fascination with the 2012 season, and the new bikes is already under way.