Valentino Rossi to focus on new electronics in Sepang

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Valentino Rossi will use this week’s second Sepang test in Malaysia to concentrate on new electronics aimed at improving stability under acceleration with the radical new Ducati GP12 machine.

Rossi and team-mate Nicky Hayden struggled with corner exit handling during the first Sepang test earlier this month but both will have new electronics tested by development rider Franco Battaini in Jerez last week at their disposal.

Rossi was fifth fastest at the first Sepang test after an encouraging debut on the radical GP12, which features a conventional twin spar aluminium frame and revised engine position to help solve the chronic front-end issue that dogged the 33-year-old throughout 2011.

The Italian’s crew chief Jerry Burgess told MCN what the priority for this week’s three-day test was and he said: “We would like to close the gap a little and we are not that far away from the Yamahas.

“There will be some electronics updates but I don’t involve myself in that too much because it is an Italian company and people, so it is better to have the line directly between Valentino and that group.

“Valentino is aware of what we developed at Yamaha and he is aware of what we have here. Now we have a bike that Valentino can go out and ride so we can work in the area of power delivery and traction control.

“Fortunately at Yamaha the chassis part was always OK and we had the latitude to work on the electronics so from here on in I would say the engine and power management is probably the priority.”

Explaining the issue that needs to be fixed from the opening test, Burgess added: “We were losing a little on acceleration with electronics and power delivery and a little bit of pumping.

“This is when the engine gets to full throttle and there’s an awful lot of power going through the tyre and, like you see on any sort of road bike, when you put it in a racing environment you get into this sort of situation and the tyre gives up.

“So the traction control sends a message sort of that the tyre’s slipped. The throttle’s still on full throttle, but it’s all sort of out of sync. So we need to tidy up that.”

See the March 7 issue of Motor Cycle News for extensive coverage from the second Sepang test.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt