Valentino Rossi will be fit to ride in next weekend’s Australian MotoGP race, despite withdrawing from a vital 1000cc test at the Jerez circuit today with a hand injury.
The 32-year-old was due to ride Ducati’s GP12 in Spain but had to withdraw with a left hand injury picked up when he crashed out on the first lap of last Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi.
The worst of the damage is on Rossi’s left little finger and it is painful enough for the nine-times world champion to have to miss today’s GP12 test.
Ducati though insist that he will be fit to compete in the Phillip Island race on October 16.
As a result, American team-mate Nicky Hayden spent less than a day at home in Kentucky after the long flight from Tokyo before he was back in the air to Europe to take part in the test.
Hayden wasn’t expecting to evaluate Ducati’s new aluminium frame concept until the traditional post race test at the Valencia circuit next month.
Rossi is understood to have tried a full twin spar aluminium frame last month in Jerez and it is not clear whether Hayden will test the same chassis Rossi has been using, or whether he will get to assess a further evolution. A further evolution of the frame, which was built by British-based FTR, is the most likely scenario given Ducati wants to have the final spec of its 2012 MotoGP ready in time for Rossi and Hayden to test in Valencia next month.
Ducati and Rossi have denied testing or readying a full twin spar aluminium frame for the track. Team boss Vittoriano Guareschi told MCN that the chassis Rossi used in Jerez last month was a modified version of the frame he’s currently racing, with different stiffness to try and improve a lack of front-end feeling and understeer.
He told MCN: "We tried one evolution of the current frame and in this moment this is not the last solution. We want to understand what we need and maybe the last solution is possible to see in Valencia, and maybe this is not the finished solution. The shape of the frame is a little bit different but not like a deltabox."