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GP Week : Issue 121
THE bike that is increasingly the focus of Ducati’s hopes of success with prize signing Valentino Rossi – the 2012 model built to new 1000cc rules – has “taken steps forward”, according to team-mate Nicky Hayden. Hayden tested the bike on Tuesday; Rossi had better conditions a day later, and pronounced “another positive test”. Hayden, who had a more successful weekend in the wet at Silverstone than his illustrious Marlboro team-mate, ran 83 laps on the new bike; Rossi did 80 the next day. They were testing alongside full-time tester Franco Battaini and Vittoriano Guareschi, who were trying developments to this year’s recalcitrant GP11 version. Rossi tried and liked a new frame, and had already spoken highly of the superior revised rear suspension layout: “I was already happy with the engine the first time I tried it,” said the Italian, who is struggling to adapt to this year’s 800cc machine. “Now we’re also making progress with the rest of the bike.” The new chassis is also a test-bed for changes to this year’s chassis, now in its second iteration but with further revisions possible. At the same time, there are concerns that development of the new bike is diverting the small company’s relatively limited resources away from urgent work needed to make the current version competitive. Ducati has a record to preserve with the change of formula: when the new 800 formula was introduced in 2007 their machine was the strongest of all, and took Casey Stoner to a dominant title. 2012 ‘Duke’ steps forward at Mugello THE twice-deferred announcement of teams accepted to swell MotoGP grid numbers finally came on Wednesday ... and all six teams now eligible to race CRT (Claiming Rule Teams) machines were selected from the Moto2 class. Each team is allowed only one rider: should the “factory” entry remain unchanged from this year with the loss of Suzuki, this would bring grid numbers up to Dorna’s hoped-for minimum of 22. There may be more to follow, according to Dorna’s statement. “Applications from new manufacturers wishing to participate in MotoGP continue to be evaluated. Further information will be provided when a decision has been taken on such applications.” BMW are thought to have postponed any plans until 2013 or beyond. Norton had earlier applied, but there are now doubts with the company facing difficulties at home; while at least one potential CRT entry was considering switching to the new “Constructor” category to avoid the claiming rule. (CRT teams get 12 engines and three extra litres of fuel, Constructor teams the same as MotoGP – nine engines until a dry GP win, thereafter six. The six teams accepted are: BY QUEROSENO RACING – running Esteve Rabat and Yonny Hernandez FORWARD RACING – Jules Cluzel and Alex Baldolini KIEFER RACING – Stefan Bradl MARC VDS RACING TEAM – Scott Redding and Mika Kallio PADDOCK GP RACING (Interwetten) – Thomas Luthi SPEED MASTER – Andrea Iannone Of these, only Marc VDS has got as far as testing a prototype: the team’s co -operation with chassis manufacturer Suter sees them sharing development of the BMW-powered shown to the paddock at the end of last season. Kallio got his first ride on the machine at Mugello, sharing the track with the Ducati factory testers. • • • • • • Six Moto2 teams accepted for MotoGP Norton hopes on hold Rossi and Hayden get second run on Desmosedici GP12 14