Loris Capirossi reckons Valentino Rossi and Ducati need to be given more time to prove the new factory GP12 machine is the bike to put the Italian in a position to challenge Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo’s domination of MotoGP.
A radical new GP12 was scheduled to have only nine days on track ahead of this weekend’s first race in Qatar having been rolled out for its track debut in late January in Sepang. But rain disruptions in Sepang and Jerez have reduced development time Rossi and team-mate Nicky Hayden have been able to put in on the new Desmosedici.
The bike features a revised engine position and conventional aluminium twin spar frame to cure a vague front-end feel and understeer issue with the GP11 bike.
But Rossi has continued to complain about a persistent understeer problem during testing and at the final test in Jerez last month he was sixth quickest and almost a second off Casey Stoner’s best pace.
The 33-year-old has cast doubt on his ability to battle for a podium when the new 1000cc era gets underway under the Losail International Circuit floodlights in Qatar on Sunday night.
But Capirossi, who retired at the end of 2011 after a nightmare final season with Pramac Ducati, says a lack of time to develop the new bike is hurting Rossi and Ducati.
The Italian veteran also believes Ducati lacks vital experience with the twin spar chassis concept compared to Japanese counterparts Honda and Yamaha.
Capirossi told MCN: “Ducati has done an amazing job since the end of 2011. They have built from November to January a completely new bike and I rode a long time for Ducati and I know they will be putting in a lot of effort.
"The problem is they don’t have time and they don’t have so much experience with the new type of chassis. It is a completely different concept and it is impossible to make one or two chassis and immediately find one that works how you want.
"Everybody has been working for ten to twenty years on this system but the problem in this world is you don’t have time to improve. You need a bike that is immediately fast. But they are still in trouble and it doesn’t look like the bike is ready to be at the front.”
Capirossi also believes that Ducati technical staff now must look at changing the engine characteristic of the Desmosedici. The triple world champion added: “The chassis is really important but the engine is also. Ducati has put in a lot of effort on the chassis and they need to look at the engine.
"It has enough power but maybe they have to consider changing something. Maybe it is not really friendly and too aggressive and this gives a problem to the chassis.”
Find out what Capirossi thinks of the nine riders he believes can be podium contenders in 2012 as part of our 16-page MotoGP season preview in the April 4 issue of Motor Cycle News.