Valentino Rossi has confirmed his factory Ducati machine will use an aluminium frame at this weekend’s Motorland Aragon race in Spain after a successful one-day test in Mugello last week.
The 32-year-old Italian confirmed he will run the new concept during the pre-event press conference today, where he also ended intense speculation about whether he will boycott the forthcoming Japanese Grand Prix.
After much deliberation, Rossi said he had opted to race in the Twin Ring Motegi, despite expressing major concerns about the safety of the Fukushima nuclear plant, which suffered severe damage in a massive earthquake that hit Japan back in March.
That was almost a side issue though with Rossi confirming he has ditched the carbon fibre chassis concept on his Desmosedici machine after a torrid debut season with Ducati.
The nine-times world champion goes into Sunday’s Motorland Aragon clash with just one podium in the opening 13 races.
But his bike will have a different look when he rolls out of pitlane tomorrow morning for the opening free practice session.
As was expected, Rossi will use the new aluminium chassis he tested in Mugello last week, which is understood to have been fabricated by British specialists FTR.
The chassis is not a conventional twin spar frame like the concept used by Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki, but it is an aluminium version of the current carbon fibre frame.
Rossi hopes the new parts will help improve a chronic understeer issue that has plagued him since he first rode for Ducati last November.
Rossi said: "I will try one of the aluminium bikes tomorrow in practice. In Mugello the bike had better feeling and also the lap time was a little bit better, so we use this race as a test. The aluminium is different in shape from the carbon frame. It is not a frame. The philosophy of the Ducati remains the same but the front part of the bike is a bit different.
"It is in aluminium and not in carbon like before. The material is a question of time because we have to work to try and understand the bike and with aluminium you need a lot less time compared to the carbon. It is just the first step and we keep working and we have to try and come back and fight for the front positions."