He may have only seen a virtual version of Ducati’s new GP12 machine on a computer in Bologna, but Valentino Rossi is confident the radically revamped Desmosedici will help him compete for victories in 2012.
Rossi will get his first chance to evaluate the new Desmosedici when winter testing resumes in Sepang on January 31.
The new bike will feature a modified version of the conventional twin spar aluminium frame Rossi used at the end of 2011 and it is widely believed that Ducati has shortened the V-angle of its new 1000cc engine to help with mass centralisation and weight distribution.
Rossi and team-mate Nicky Hayden complained constantly last season about a lack of front-end feel and understeer and the pair were only able to score one podium each in a disastrous 2011 for Ducati.
Speaking during a press conference at Ducati’s 2012 team launch at the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort in Italy this morning, the 32-year-old said the latest generation bike was a lot different to the GP12 prototype he rode in testing at Valencia last November and he said he was curious to ride the new machine in Malaysia later this month.
Rossi said: “I think that for sure the first test will be important. The bike will be different compared to last year, so it is impossible to be competitive from the first test but I think we will have some good information to work and be ready for the first race. Going back to 2011 we have tried to shorten up our development time using also the GP12 as soon as possible. We have seen with the old bike we had some problems but unfortunately we also had many problems with the GP12. So we started to work on solving the problems we encountered and at the end we had a hybrid between the two bikes.
"Now Filippo Preziosi has modified and designed a totally new bike trying to solve the problems that we had during last season. I know they have worked a lot within Ducati and I went to visit them and I have seen the new bike on the computer and it seems very, very nice. So we are very curious to try it as soon as possible to understand how this is going to go and to see if we have been able to solve our problems and to shift the balance of the bike. I am not worried and I am optimistic and confident and I can’t wait to try it. When I’ve tried it that is when I will better understand where we are and if we have been able to reshuffle the cards a little bit. I don’t expect at the first test the bike to be perfect but I am sure it is going to be enough to help us understand if we have worked well or not. Last season we changed the bike halfway through the season but next year everything is going to be more planned out.”
Ducati technical director Filippo Preziosi will give an update on the 2012 Desmosedici when he speaks to the media tomorrow morning (Wednesday).