250bhp from new Ducati GP12

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The new Ducati GP12 that Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden will give a public debut to in Sepang on January 31 is producing around 250bhp.

The power figure was released by Karel Abraham’s Cardion AB Motoracing squad, which claims the 2012 power output is a 15bhp increase on the GP11 800cc machine that Rossi and Hayden struggled on so severely last year.

Abraham’s Czech Republic-based squad also claim the GP12 is close to a full 1000cc with capacity at 999cc.

It also reveals that the engine Abraham will campaign will retain Ducati’s traditional 90-degree V-angle.

It’s press release said: “Water-cooled four-stroke engine with four cylinders and four valves per cylinder which are controlled by desmodromic valve system. The cylinders are formed in an angle of 90 degrees.”

The declaration from Abraham’s team that his bike will keep the 90-degree V-angle doesn’t mean the radically revamped GP12 that Rossi and Hayden will ride in Sepang is the same configuration.

Ducati confirmed last week during its team launch in Italy that Abraham and Hector Barbera will run the same specification GP12 that Rossi tested in Valencia last November.

But Ducati technical guru Filippo Preziosi revealed last week at the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort that the latest spec GP12 for Rossi and Hayden is a radical overhaul of the bike the nine-times world champion rode in November.

It has been widely speculated throughout the winter that Ducati has opted to narrow its 90-degree V-angle in a bid to change weight distribution and mass centralisation to help cure a chronic front-end issue that plagued Rossi and Hayden last season.

Preziosi though told MCN during last week’s 2012 team launch in Madonna di Campiglio that the V-angle was not a significant issue.

He said: “For me the angle is not a main issue. I think we could design a great bike with 90 degrees and a great bike with a smaller angle. There are some advantages with a smaller angle and some disadvantages, especially for this displacement.

“This displacement is obtained just increasing the stroke because the bore is more or less similar to the 800, so the engine becomes higher if you close the angle. There are some disadvantages in doing that if the stroke is very high. But if the engine is higher it isn’t as long, so it is a compromise.”

Rossi’s Aussie crew chief Jerry Burgess also believes that Ducati’s trademark 90-degree V-angle was not a concept that needed altering for its MotoGP project.

He told MCN: “ The 90-degree is a very good engine although perhaps a little more difficult in the packaging but not something that I would be afraid of. When I went to Yamaha they said we’d never win with an in-line four and we proved them wrong and Yamaha are still winning.

“If you can package a V4 the right way it’s the best engine. If you spoke to most of the engineers in the world their choice of engine would be a 90-degree V.

“The packaging issues are not impossible to overcome and it has won races in the past, so no one can say that is holding us back.”

The new GP12 made its track debut in Jerez earlier this week when reigning World Superbike champion Carlos Checa and test rider Franco Battaini completed a three-day behind closed doors test.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt