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GP Week : Issue 152
Valentino Rossi hopes the next step in his slow and steady journey to improve the 1000cc Ducati Desmosedici GP12 will come with a new engine that he will test for the first time today at the post-race Estoril tests. But it is not a major revision, and certainly not the narrower-angle V4 that some commentators have been trumpeting as the only way to solve the machine’s understeer problems. Rossi confirmed that they had made a step forward with the longer and lower settings they had adopted for the first time for the race at Jerez. Using them this time for the full weekend proved what he said then: that he can brake and enter the corners faster and more positively. “Understeer is still a problem,” he said, “and I don’t think we can fix it in a short time.” But he was more optimistic that the other bugbear – excessive wheelspin that hits acceleration on corner exits – might be improved. “I spoke for a long time to [designer and race department chief] Filippo Preziosi this weekend. It is very difficult for us to put the power on the ground like the other guys.” Delivery was too aggressive, and throttle response likewise. “For tomorrow we have a different engine that is maybe smoother. It will not fix all the problems, but we can take a step. Tomorrow’s test is not crucial, but it is important,” he said. But even if it works out as planned, “I will not be able to use it until Silverstone.” Limited engine number s mean he has to stick with what he has for the next two rounds. It is likely to have revised valve timing and electronics to soften the power. Another possibility is lighter casings: the current engine was designed for the previous chassis where it was part of the overall structure, a role it no longer plays with the new full aluminium chassis. Crew chief Jerry Burgess confirmed that “it’s a variation of what we have, not a radical change.” ROSSI TO TEST NEW ENGINE 12 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS