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Secret Test of Ducati Desmosedici GP12 Begins at Jerez

Ducati is keeping a tight lid on the results of the first day of testing at Jerez of the entirely new GP12 that has been rushed in development prior to the official Sepang MotoGP tests beginning later this month.  WSB champ Carlos Checa tested the machine along with factory test rider Franco Battaini.  No pictures were released, but testing will continue tomorrow.  According to Twitter postings by Checa and his mechanic, the speed with which this essentially entirely new machine was developed is unprecedented, but work is progressing well.  The focus, as we suspected, is obtaining baseline settings before Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden ride the machine for the first time on January 31 at Sepang.


  1. falcon says:

    The subject is complex regarding chassis design and motors and electronics.

    For instance during late 2009, two of Yamaha’s specialist electronic technicians who were credited with working entirely on the M1 developement under Furusawa san (but not the only ones), were poached successfully by Honda. If you look hard enough, there is a good amount of material describing this series of events from many different sources, including Honda. These particular technicians did work closely with the Rossi team group and of course with Edwards then Lorenzo (just as they moved on during his first year as the factory team member)
    At the end of the 2011 season Yamaha did a presentation detailing the general historical development of the M1 covering off engine and management systems and the many chassis designs tried last year and the year before and mention was made then of a raft of specific sensors and how they are generally intended to work supplying data to the machine. Also note was made of the relationship the technicans played in disseminating and integrating some of the Honda robotics work and conversion for use on the MotoGp machine,
    I found the information a useful (if brief) backdrop to the success of the 2010 and 2011 Honda GP machine which during 2010 was being set up well for 2011 in all of the riders hands not just Stoner.(Elias aside, his equipment was not what the factory team was using by a good margin, but it would not seem to have made a difference anyway)
    From the Yamaha end, Furusawa san is well credited with much of the design and direction of the M1 and there is a lot of information quoting him acknowledging the role that Rossi did play from the outset and choosing the rig to develop for 2004 (and the input of Burgess as well as the Yamaha design engineers).
    With so much consistent information and over a good while available, I struggle to understand how commentators on these and other boards, could possibly raise any doubts or questions over the competency of any manufacturer of these machines nor of Rossi as a development rider. In the same way, Colin Edwards is credited with a wide and authoratative respect for his development skills (for instance Lin Jarvis Yamaha Europe racing boss, or Herve Poncheral Tech 3 boss and more besides) as is Pedrosa in other areas (handling mostly it seems). There is so much clear information to suggest other riders do not have the same skills or anywhere near it.
    Lorenzo himself has just this week stated he has very limited technical understanding and acknowledges the overarching development credit to the engineers at Yamaha. Whether he is being politic, cunning or somethng else he should get credit for being bold enough to say it like this and even Yamaha’s Furusawa san himself is on record noting the Lornezo does not have the skills Rossi does (for instance) and might struggle to develop them.
    I am a supporter of the sport and riders – all of them, and try not to be too blinkered about this Rider or that because this is a sport packed full of the elite of this area, with multiple world champion motorcylce racers predominating throughout one way or another.
    It would be more useful if more people read more widely about how things have come to be so that they are not so dogmatic and ignorant about a particular aspect of the sport and were thus able to contribute more productively to general content instead of making baseless or irrelevant arguments while name calling to make themselves feel good.
    Bring on April 8 , 2012.

  2. Sean says:

    How has the WSB series been designed to give favor to Ducati? I’m not a Ducati guy so I’m curious what the reason for this thinking is because I’ve seen it mentioned more than once. WSB and several other Superbike series allow 1200cc twins to be run against 1000cc 4 cylinders but they also make Ducati run restrictor plates to reduce peak horsepower. There’s no denying Ducati has thoroughly dominated WSB but for many years they were only running 1000cc twins giving up a huge horsepower advantage to the 4’s and still winning. This year they will be forced to add weight to their bikes in an effort to level the playing field but I’m still not sure how the rules are giving them an advantage over the other manufacturers. After all, it takes a lot of extra displacement to make up for the horsepower advantage a 4 cylinder bike has over a 2 cylinder. Watching every race of the WSB series this year it was evident that the Aprilia owned the Ducati in the straights but it didn’t matter because Checa dominated the corners so soundly. Perhaps the larger displacement engine with more low-end torque gives it a power advantage coming out of the corners?

  3. Sean says:

    According to the specs Ducati recently released the GP12 retains the L-4 configuration. They’ve always touted the L design as being ideal for vibration cancelling but I can’t imagine that being too much of a concern on a GP bike. One thing is for sure a 90 degree engine isn’t going to be as compact as a 65 degree configuration. What is interesting though is the desmocedici is being blamed for wearing out the rear tire faster than the Honda or Yamaha do but in WSB the L-Twinpowered 1098R is known for getting better tire wear than the others. I guess that’s more due to the fact that the twin in the 1098 is down on power compared to the 4 cylinder bikes it’s competing against.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “They’ve always touted the L design as being ideal for vibration cancelling but I can’t imagine that being too much of a concern on a GP bike.”

      vibration is a form of wasted energy just like sound and heat. since only a small percentage of the energy (chemical) found in gasoline is converted to begin with, that means it IS a concern on a GP bike.

      re: “One thing is for sure a 90 degree engine isn’t going to be as compact as a 65 degree configuration.”

      what a 65 degree may gain in terms of form factor, it gives up in terms of efficiency. physical law sucks in that it ensures there’s never any “free lunch”.

      • Sean says:

        While the L configuration may be the best ‘V’ design in terms of vibration cancelling it’s obviously not critical to fielding a competitive bike. None of the other competitors that I know of run that design. The Yamaha uses an inline 4 and Honda uses a 72 degree V4 and I don’t seem to remember ever seeing them struggle to keep up with the vibration free L4 powered Ducati in the straights. To the contrary the Hondas were passing the Ducatis pretty much at will in the straights and in the corners. Remember too any engine configuration can be counterbalanced to acceptable levels of vibration. It may not be as efficient as an L configuration but it’s obviously efficient enough.

  4. Pete says:

    Ducati post Stoner = FAIL

  5. Goose says:

    Well, I’ll through out my guess: If Ducati actually addressed the real problem (the D16 engine is too long) by changing the “L” configuration to a “V” and moved the engine forward to get more weight on the front wheel 2012 could be different. If they wasted the time worrying about the frame it will be SOS.



    • mugwump says:

      I first caught wind of this Neil Spalding’s authorized book MotoGp Technology. It has amazed me that this hasn’t caught on more.

      • Goose says:

        I haven’t read that book. It sounds like I should. Anyway, when Dr. T. laid out the L twin it was 50 years ago. He was worried about cooling the high output air cooled motor, in a V the air flow to the rear cylinder is pretty much blocked by the front cylinder.

        Ducati should have changed the L to a V when they went to water cooling. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. When they built the D16 they followed tradition instead of modern motorcycle packaging. Now they are paying for it.

        Casey Stoner is tremendously talented and very, very brave. I’d almost say too brave. Anyway, without a rider willing to risk crashing in every corner the L-4 D16 is not going to win races.



        • Norm G. says:

          re: “they followed tradition instead of modern motorcycle packaging. Now they are paying for it.”

          how…? by althea winning 2 championships less than 6 months ago…?

  6. man relish says:

    the fact that they haven’t sorted this bike with only days to go should leave no secret as to what to expect this season…

  7. MGNorge says:

    “Secret Test of Ducati Desmosedici GP12 Begins at Jerez”

    Evidently not so secret!

  8. brinskee says:

    Oh, how I would loved to have been a fly on the wall all day at this test. C’mon Checa! You have a big mouth! Let’s hear your thoughts!!