Valentino Rossi might be heading back to Yamaha in less than two months, but the Italian is still playing a pivotal role in trying to make Ducati a more competitive force in 2013.
The Italian raced a new chassis and swingarm to second place in his home race in Misano on Sunday, which was his best dry race result on board the Desmosedici.
The 33-year-old then tested another new chassis in Misano yesterday (Monday), which featured the same geometry but a different stiffness.
He also tested a new swingarm, which he was impressed with the improved edge grip and acceleration grip.
Rossi completed 53 laps and said: “We tried a different chassis that had a different stiffness, but honestly, I didn’t like it a lot. It was an improvement in some areas, but we had some new problems in other areas.
"In the end, it’s not a real improvement, so I don’t think we’ll use it again. But the positive thing is that we tried a new swingarm that I liked a lot because it gave me more edge grip and more rear grip under acceleration, and it helps the bike to stay more stable on corner exits.
"So of the two things, one worked. I think we’ll use the new swingarm starting in Aragon, so there we’ll see what our potential is on another track.”
Nicky Hayden completed a brief stint on the chassis and swingarm spec that Rossi raced to only his third Ducati podium in 16 months in Misano.
The American is still struggling with a right hand injury he suffered in a high speed qualifying crash at his home race in Indianapolis last month but he said the new frame and swingarm was a positive step from Ducati.
The 2006 world champion said: “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 set-up.”