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Ducati Chassis Finally Coming Good Just as Rossi Heads for Exit

After furious development efforts proved essentially fruitless over the past year and a half, Ducati finally seems to be solving the principal bugaboo with the handling of its MotoGP bike, i.e., lack of front end grip and feel.

Valentino Rossi debuted the new chassis with a second place at Missano last weekend, while Nicky Hayden soldiered to seventh place with an extremely sore wrist and the old chassis.

A test earlier today at Misano following the race weekend saw Hayden compare the new chassis with the bike he rode yesterday. His comments were favorable, and echoed Rossi’s with regard to the improved front end:

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 14 laps

“In order not to stress my hand too much, we only did two runs today—one with basically my race bike, and one with the new frame—but it was nice to get an idea of the chassis. I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to notice the difference, but I could actually feel more than I expected. I felt better with it, for sure. I had more confidence because there’s better front grip for braking into the corners, and because of that, also better turning. I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction, straight away, and I’m happy with the work Ducati has done. Because I was able to brake a bit differently, I’ll probably need to stiffen the fork spring a bit, but already, it was a good step. I’m quite happy, and at Aragon we’ll start to work on the setup.”

Filippo Preziosi, Technical Director

“It was a very useful test: We had prepared a chassis that was the same as that used by Valentino in yesterday’s race in terms of geometry, but different in terms of rigidity. Valentino gave us feedback that will allow us to design an evolution that has the positive characteristics that he noticed, and which match what we expected from the calculations we had made, but without losing precision. We also had a different swingarm that Valentino liked, so we’ll bring it to Aragon. Nicky did his first comparison between the pre-Misano frame and swingarm and those used by Valentino yesterday. His initial comments were positive, but we’ll have to check again at Aragon when his physical condition is better. Based on the data we gathered today, we’re speeding up production of the next step of the frame, which could arrive before Valencia.”

Ben Spies has confirmed his move to the Pramac Racing Ducati team next year along with Moto2 rider Andrea Ianonne.  This team will have full factory bikes, and represents a reflection of Ducati’s commitment to push forward in the post-Rossi era, undoubtedly with some financial support from new parent company Audi.  Don’t count Ducati out in 2013.

11 Comments

  1. 2wheelin says:

    The problem for Ducati was that during the sale to Audi, they were restricted from spending $$$ on development, now that the sale is done they are. That was a lost of an entire season. Honda and Yamaha provided Rossi with tons of bike upgrades to improve the bike where Ducati did not.

  2. brinskee says:

    Don’t forget: Rossi tested there recently so he had a good setting going into the weekend, clearly an advantage on the other guys. Mix in the terrible weather and it’s even more of an advantage because the rest of the paddock pretty much couldn’t work on their setup all weekend. I’m not dogging Rossi or taking away from his podium (good work!) but I think both of those advantages should put things in perspective.

    I’m very interested to see how he’s going to do at Aragon. And even if he does have a great finish, I’m still convinced his move to Yamaha makes sense this late in his career. But that chassis might be a good benefit for our American boys, Hayden and Spies!

  3. viktor92 says:

    I’m a ducatista and Valentino fan, so I’m happy for both with this second place, but I feel very angry for the same thing: almost two years to produce (as it seems) a valid chassis with the right input from the rear wheeel ??, and it came when valentino is just leaving !!!

  4. Gary says:

    It’s nice to see Rossi on the podium again, but I get the feeling both Pedrosa (if he hadn’t crashed) and Lorenzo (if he weren’t on cruise control) could have put 20 seconds on him.

  5. Norm G. says:

    re: “I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction, straight away, and I’m happy with the work Ducati has done. Because I was able to brake a bit differently, I’ll probably need to stiffen the fork spring a bit”

    now that’s a BOLD statement.

  6. Vrooom says:

    Man has that been a long time coming. Hopefully Rossi can do something with the new frame prior to switching bikes, I’d love to see him win on a Ducati. Could be good for Cal and Ben next year.

    • Chris says:

      Cal Crutchlow? He won’t be on a Ducati next year. He is staying with the Tech 3 team.

      And what about Nicky? He’ll be on the factory team in 2013. One year contract…

  7. stinkywheels says:

    That’ll be great to see my two favorite riders maybe get some results. Now maybe Aprillia, Suzuki and Kawasaki can come onboard. I can’t believe I got a recaptcha that’s readable the first time! Maybe Ducati and Motorcycle Daily are coming around.

  8. Provalogna says:

    That would be some serious irony if rider X on a Ducati finishes ahead of Rossi next year!

  9. goose says:

    It was great to see “old man” Rossi fight for and take second. Even if Pedrosa and Stoner had been there Rossi should have finished 4th, way better than his earlier dry weather finishes.

    Cheers to Ducati for (FINALLY) getting a workable chassis on the Desmo 16.

    Goose