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GP Week : Issue 141
VALENTINO Rossi and Nicky Hayden will test two different chassis variations this week at the two-day first group test for next year’s 1000cc machines ... including the full aluminium chassis that was built in England as a radical departure from the company’s usual design. “One of the chassis we will test is radically different – for Ducati,” confirmed team manager Vito Guareschi, who is also a test rider for the factory. He was unable to confirm that it was the full twin-beam design as used by the Japanese opposition. “Filippo (Preziosi – Ducati Corse chief and designer) would kill me,” he joked. But there is little doubt that the riders will test the chassis, which Rossi has already tried in 1000cc guise in private tests. The chassis was built by British specialists FTR to Ducati’s design. The difference is that the swing- arm pivots from the chassis. Ducatis have hitherto pivoted the rear suspension directly from the gearbox casing, which amateur engineers suggest is one reason why they have difficulty in building the right kind of controlled flex into the machine. Chassis flex is what provides suspension for a motorcycle at full lean, of 60 degrees or more. Guareschi said they would test the new chassis back to back with the current aluminium chassis, which extends the length of the former mini-airbox/chassis made in carbon fibre. But neither is necessarily the last word: “ We have two different options, and nothing will be finalised until next year’s tests at Malaysia,” said Guareschi. “Perhaps there you will see solution number three.” Ducati: ‘radical’ chassis on test at Valencia TESTING restrictions introduced in response to the 2008 financial crisis have been lifted with immediate effect, and full-time MotoGP riders will now get much more saddle time on their race bikes. The restrictions not only cut back the number of tests. They also meant that the factory teams were more or less obliged to run separate test teams, away from the GP world, to develop new parts or systems. One problem was that test riders could not match the lap times of the full-time riders, so that the data they gathered was not always relevant. The decision came at the GP Commission meeting on Saturday at Valencia, when the proposal was approved. It was originally intended to help the new CRT teams to develop their all-new bikes, without having to stump up the considerable cost of a separate test team. Under the new rules, teams will be able to nominate a test track, and will not be allowed to pre-test at any GP circuits. But full- time riders will have free access to test their bikes, with a generous limit of 280 tyres for the year. Response from teams and riders was mixed, depending on the current state of their machines. Two of the top three at the Valencia race complained about the extra work load. “I’m not really happy,” said Stoner.” With an 18-race season and the testing we have now . .. being on the bike all year will destroy us. For me I can get done what we need with the testing we do now.” Spies concurred. “It’s hard enough the way it is. It will help some people, but some guys like to ride 100 laps a day, and others ride 30 laps and they can be faster. For me it’s right as it is.” Dovizioso, who switches to Yamaha next year, said: “ To have some tests after a race is good – but not too many, as in 2006. Two or three more days would be good.” But the news was welcomed at Ducati, where Rossi’s progress this year has been severely restricted by a lack of opportunity to test. Rossi welcomed the move in advance: “ Without testing, we can’t catch up,” he said; while his famed crew chief Jerry Burgess was equally pleased. “How can anybody expect to get better if they can’t test,” he said. testing restrictions lifted for MotoGP Mixed response to new regulation change After a difficult year on the Ducati, Valentino Rossi welcomes the changes 14