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GP Week : Issue 122
RIVAL teams were in a quandary about Ducati. Had the Italian squad been cheating, or sailing close to the wind, on the testing rules? Or had they just found a loophole that they might have missed? The question arose after they wheeled out the new GP11.1 for Rossi. This was actually the GP12 with the engine size cut to 800cc. And as such both Rossi and Hayden had tested the bike, for a total of five days. Which is five days more than anybody has been able to test their bikes for this year. Ducati team chief Alessandro Cicognani was adamant there had been no conspiracy to circumvent the testing restrictions. Although engineering chief Filippo Preziosi had the idea of reducing the engine size of the highly promising 2012 bike after the first test, the decision to do so had been taken only after Rossi’s last test, the Wednesday after Silverstone. The testing by the GP riders (the GP test rider Franco Battaini is allowed to test both the GP11 and the GP12 as much as they want) had been within the rules, because they specify only that the 2012 bikes ‘must not be eligible’ for the current class. The bigger engine (size not yet revealed) means it is not eligible. Change the engine size, as Ducati did, and it does become eligible. While remaining basically the same bike. Any of the other manufacturers could have done (could still do) the same. They haven’t. The conclusion is that Ducati has been clever rather than devious. Or, to put it another way, Ducati is getting desperate for results. Did Ducati cheat? 46