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Valentino Rossi To Attack Assen With 2012 Frame and New Gearbox

It looks like Honda’s advantage with its slick gearbox (one that never interrupts drive, seemlessly engaging the next gear) will end at Assen where Ducati will introduce its own new transmission allegedly featuring the same advances.  This transmission will be on Valentino Rossi’s GP11.1, a bike featuring next year’s 1000cc chassis incorporating the current 800cc engine.

Nicky Hayden will receive the 2012 chassis at Laguna Seca when he is next scheduled for an engine swap (remember, MotoGP riders are limited to the number of engines they may use each year, and Hayden has used one more than Rossi so far).

The pictures accompanying this article are of Rossi aboard the GP12 (next year’s 1000cc bike) at a recent test.  Apparently, both Rossi and Hayden are very impressed with the 2012 chassis and are anxious to try it during the remainder of this season.

Here is a press release from Ducati describing the bike changes for this weekend’s Assen round, including a minor chassis upgrade for Hayden.

The Ducati MotoGP Team, continuing its development process with the Desmosedici, will introduce a variety of new updates at Assen. Valentino Rossi will take to the track with the next generation of the bike, called the GP11.1. The design process for this bike began after the Sepang tests, with construction beginning after the riders approved the GP12’s chassis during its first test, at Jerez.

For the GP11.1, the Corse Department prepared an 800cc engine that installs in the chassis that Ducati engineers are developing for 2012. The bike will also use a new gearbox, the “DST- Ducati Seamless Transmission”, the design process for which began in 2010.

Nicky Hayden, who has already used four engines this season, will use a GP11 equipped with the step-2 frame, whose stiffness has been further modified compared to the step-1 version that was introduced at the Estoril test. According to the engine-rotation schedule, he will ride the GP11.1 at Laguna Seca.

Assen is a track that both Ducati MotoGP Team riders like very much, and one where both have achieved strong results: seven victories and three podiums across all classes for Valentino Rossi, one victory and a podium for Nicky Hayden.

“Assen is one of my tracks—one of those that I like most and where I’ve had some nice races in all the classes. We’ll try to take advantage of that good feeling and of our experience at this circuit because Thursday morning we’ll debut some updates to my bike that are very promising but also very fresh. Filippo [Preziosi], the guys at Ducati and the Test Team have worked really hard, and that has enabled us to make this new step with the development of our bike. We haven’t had the chance to test the 800 since Estoril, so we’ll do it during the race weekends, being aware that despite having very limited time, we’ll have to focus on two jobs: making basic adjustments to the new technical parts, and finding a general setup for the race on Saturday. We’ll have to do a good job on the track in order to get the most out of the work done at the factory. It will be hard, and we know it might take some time before we can completely reach the potential of the whole package, but we’re happy and motivated by the work we’re doing.”

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati MotoGP Team
“There was no GP this past weekend, but the time went by pretty quickly, as I had a test at Mugello and a couple of PR appearances. Now it’s time for Assen, which is an awesome race. I have some good memories there, including a win, and it’s a place I really like, with a lot of history and tradition. The track has changed over the years, but I like the new section. We’ve had a big gap to the front lately, but now we have another new step with the chassis. The first step helped with the feeling, and hopefully this one will also help with the lap time. It’s clear that Ducati is working hard, and that’s motivating for me, for the team, and for all of our Ducati supporters. I look forward to getting my hands on a GP11.1 as soon as possible as well.”

FILIPPO PREZIOSI, Ducati Technical Director
“We decided to make the GP11.1, which is an 800cc engine in a GP12 chassis, in order to accelerate development on next year’s bike, and also to provide our riders with a potentially better base for the current championship. Considering that Valentino still hasn’t ever ridden the GP11.1, this decision could require some races for the team to completely take advantage of its potential, but we decided to move forward with it because we believe it’s an important step for our development process. The next-generation gearbox, on the other hand, is a solution that we think will be an immediate improvement. The Ducati Corse Department will continue studying further innovations, both for this year and for 2012. At the same time, we have developed an additional step for the frame for Nicky, and he’ll receive the GP11.1 at Laguna Seca.”


  1. Crusty says:


  2. wake up dorna… limit the electronics,and all the riders aides(wheelie,launch,traction control,ect) put the control back in the riders hands…. the gp races the last several years look more like a parade than a motorcycle race….boring stuff of late….

  3. Bob says:

    I will wake up and show interest when Dorna stops limiting the amount of fuel the bike can carry. I’m not interested in a two-wheel equivalent of the Mobil Economy Run.

  4. Gary says:

    I think it’s going to take more than a new transmission …

  5. andymotocross says:

    Hope Doc does well and those can eat more crow.

  6. MikeD says:

    Can they actually do this ?! As in “Is this S*&^ LEGAL ?” Baahh, who cares…as long as it trickles down to their street bike nobody should give a who about it.

    • vince says:

      it’s a prototype series. as long as you stay within the rules you can make changes…

    • MGNorge says:

      This is exactly my point on this. If we dumb down the series so that each machine is nothing but a copy of the other in the name of making things “equal” for each rider, would we have such developments? An open class such as MotoGP must remain open to engineering advances, the riders will bring their skills to hopefully compliment the machinery. Otherwise, may as well go to the carnival and watch the merry-go-round.

      • craigj says:

        If you dumb it down so that each machine is a copy of the other … you’d wind up with NASCAR wouldn’t you?

  7. harry says:

    I’ll take that new gearbox on my new CB1100. Thanks Honda!

  8. Asterix says:

    I wonder if the transmissions are VFR-style dual clutch automated manuals or something different.

    And more importantly, when these are going to start popping into streetbikes I can buy.

  9. bikerrandy says:

    Well maybe then they can see how much the changes help vs. the old setup Nicky will still be riding.

  10. Brinskee says:

    Oh boy! Real Rossi feedback inspired development on the Sedici, hopefully we will see real results. It’s probably way too late in the season for Rossi to have any chance at the championship, but this will be interesting to watch, at least as a precursor to next year. Poor Nicky. None of the bling ’till Laguna…

    • MikeD says:

      That panzy can’t ride that wild red blooded stallion…even if it had a 6.0HP Briggs & Stratton Engine.
      Go ahead Rossi Fan Boys, try ur best flame back at me…(^_^ )

      • Lynchenstein says:


      • vince says:

        oh how about while Stoner’s win rate was good, his crash rate was super -duper high too. I recall among others, 2 races in row while Rossi was following him; Brno and Misano and Laguna Seca while he was following Rossi.

      • MikeD says:

        The result has been better than xpected. Keep it up. LMFAO. U just gotta use the right bait. LMAO.

        P.S: I don’t even watch MotoGP…just glimpses[don’t have fancy cable or satellite]…(-_- )’

        Seriously tho, while STOner did fall a bunch of times he has been “so far” the only one able to squeeze something{results} out of that God forsaken Bike.

        Easy guys, i just felt like throwing some Gas in the fire…nothing personal…he can ride…they all can ride…i sure can’t hence im not a GP Pilot but rather dicking around here…(^_^ )

        • MikeD says:

          If ur gonna eat me let me take my clothes off first so u won’t get indegestion…(O_O )’

          Different horses for different courses…(^_^ )

      • MikeD says:

        P.S.1: Preziosi did sound (JMHO) that their chances on ’11 are pretty much doom and they are rather committed/looking forward more to the 1000cc ’12 Season…like he’ll fight this battle but is rather more optimistic about the outcome of the ’12 Season to win the War.
        His position ain’t no pleasure cruise, that’s for sure (o_O )

        • Steve says:

          Ducati will not contest the championship this year but both Rossi & Hayden are quite capable of being the spoilers if the bikes can get up front due to these changes…. we’ll see