Ducati has confirmed it will roll out a radical new bike for Valentino Rossi in Assen this weekend called the GP11.1 The bike includes the current 800cc engine fitted in a chassis that Ducati has been working on for the new GP12 1000cc bike ahead of next season.
It also features a new gearbox called the DST – Ducati Seamless Transmission – and is designed to match the quickshift system that Honda developed so successfully for its factory RC212V machine this season.
Ducati’s new bike comes against a backdrop of denials from all personnel about a major revamp.
Rossi and Ducati staff had insisted that the current 800cc GP11 motor could not be used in the 2012 frame, while it was only at the last round in Silverstone that he said a new gearbox was unlikely to be ready until 2012.
The design process for the GP11.1 began after the Sepang tests in February, with construction beginning after the riders approved the GP12’s chassis during its first test at Jerez immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix.
The 800cc engine installs in the chassis that Ducati engineers are developing for 2012. Rossi will be the only rider on the new bike at this weekend’s Assen race.
American team-mate Nicky Hayden, who has already used four engines this season, will use a GP11 equipped with a revised frame, whose stiffness has been further modified compared to the version that was introduced at the Estoril test. According to the engine-rotation schedule, he will ride the GP11.1 at Laguna Seca.
Ducati technical boss Filippo Preziosi said: "We decided to make the GP11.1, which is an 800cc engine in a GP12 chassis, in order to accelerate development on next year’s bike, and also to provide our riders with a potentially better base for the current championship. Considering that Valentino still hasn’t ever ridden the GP11.1, this decision could require some races for the team to completely take advantage of its potential, but we decided to move forward with it because we believe it’s an important step for our development process.
"The next-generation gearbox, on the other hand, is a solution that we think will be an immediate improvement. The Ducati Corse Department will continue studying further innovations, both for this year and for 2012. At the same time, we have developed an additional step for the frame for Nicky, and he’ll receive the GP11.1 at Laguna Seca."