Valentino Rossi unveils new Ducati GP12

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One of the most eagerly anticipated new bikes in recent MotoGP history finally broke cover today when Valentino Rossi tweeted a picture of the new Ducati GP12 1000cc MotoGP bike being prepared for this week’s crucial Sepang test in Malaysia.

This is the bike that Rossi and Ducati hope will help them bounce back from a disastrous 2011 campaign, which saw the Bologna factory fail to win a race in the final season of the 800cc era.

Rossi and team-mate Nicky Hayden scored just one podium each last season as Casey Stoner and Honda dominated 2011 with 10 wins.

The GP12 features a conventional aluminium frame and numerous weight distribution changes as Ducati desperate tries to alleviate a lack of front-end feel and understeer issue that plagued Rossi and Hayden throughout last season.

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 solve the persistent front-end issue.

But technical director Filippo Preziosi told MCN during the recent 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.”

The three-day Sepang test kicks off tomorrow (Tuesday).

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt