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GP Week : Issue 134
VaLENTINO rossi got a new chassis at aragon. and in spite of previous denials, it was made of aluminium. But although this brings Ducati into line with all its MotoGP rivals, it was not an aluminium chassis as we know it. “ The Ducati concept remains the same,” explained Rossi, as he spoke about how tests with the new metal chassis at Mugello after the last round at Misano had been promising, with an improvement of two or three tenths in the lap time. Details were not forthcoming, but what could be seen was revealing. Where the previous carbon airbox/chassis linked the top and front of the engine with the steering head, using the whole engine as a stressed member, the new metal unit is longer, stretching almost behind the engine. The inference is that has given engineers a longer unit to provide more controlled flex to improve front-end feel and steering. The front mountings are presumably less than rigid. Pre-race, the result was promising enough for Rossi to consign the carbon GP11.1 chassis to the back of the track after a few laps in the first few practice. But with that afternoon’s practice cancelled they were short of set-up time, and the outcome in the race was disappointing at best. Before the meeting, Rossi was positive: “At Mugello it was a bit faster, with a bit better feeling at the front,” he said. Lap times were thought to be two or three tenths faster. After the race, he was less sure: “It looks like we don’t fix a lot,” he said. “ We have been quite slow all season, and not consistent. I am still not able to ride as I like. “Here the feeling from the front was not so bad. Rear grip was the main issue.” Asked if he thought the Bologna engineers were losing their way, with this his third chassis of the year, his reply was oblique. “For me, we have a great engine,” he said. “ This (new chassis) is one way to try, but if after a few races we don’t improve, maybe it is not the right direction.” DUCATI GOES 'ALLY' 16