Ducati plan more tests on aluminium swingarm

Published: 22 June 2012

Ducati’s aluminium swingarm project hasn’t been axed and Valentino Rossi could evaluate it again during a one-day test immediately after his home race at Mugello next month.

Rossi liked the new aluminium swingarm when he tested it at Mugello recently, the 33-year-old gaining extra feeling on corner entry with his factory GP12 machine.

Team-mate Nicky Hayden was less enthusiastic though after the American encountered a chatter issue and he opted not to use the swingarm for the recent Catalunya MotoGP race.

Rossi did evaluate it instead of the carbon version but in Barcelona he struggled with a front-end chatter issue.

“It is when I am maximum lean angle and release the brake, there is a lot of chatter so I have to go slower,” the nine-times world champion told MCN.

Rossi reverted back to the carbon swingarm for the remainder of the race weekend and tried the aluminium version again at a post race test at Catalunya.

But once again he struggled with the chatter problem and was confused as to why the aluminium swingarm had been better at Mugello but far worse on a different track like Cataluya.

Rossi didn’t even put the aluminium swingarm in his GP12 when he tested again at the Motorland Aragon track in Spain and his Aussie crew chief hinted to MCN that the project would be shelved.

He said: “Sometimes in development you move forward and sometimes you don’t. I think we’ll put it to bed because the one we have got is good for us.

"Do you go out and make an aluminium one, which is exactly the same as the carbon in torsional stiffness and rigidity, or do you keep going with the one you have?

"It comes down to cost and is it cost effective to have aluminium one or plough on as we are? If we are looking for the same stiffness we’ve already got it in carbon.”

Ducati team boss Vittoriano Guareschi though said the aluminium swingarm project would be looked at again in the future and he told MCN: “We produced two different aluminium swingarms but it is not a big step.

"It is possible to keep the good points but we need time to improve the shock and the link and now we don’t have enough time during the season to do this, and especially at this moment.

"We don’t put this swingarm in the rubbish but we need more time and maybe after this busy period we can try it on the Monday after Mugello to improve the set-up. We produced this to improve the edge grip and Valentino says it is better but we have other problems.

The problem is the chatter and we want to investigate and solve this problem. Yamaha and Honda have this solution (aluminium swingarm) so it is possible to do a good set-up for this swingarm in the future.”