With the 2011 MotoGP season not going as successfully as hoped, Ducati is introducing a number of significant updates to its Desmosedici racebike including features originally intended for the 2012 version.
Valentino Rossi, whose much heralded union with Ducati has produced just a single podium finish in six races, will be the first to race on the updated Desmosedici, dubbed the GP11.1. Rossi will ride the GP11.1 at the upcoming Assen. His teammate Nicky Hayden however won?t switch to the GP11.1 until the Laguna Seca round, July 22-24 as he has already gone through four engines this season and the GP11.1 would be his fifth of his allotted six engines with more than half the season to go.
The GP11.1 uses the chassis being developed for the 2012 season while the new gearbox, the ?Ducati Seamless Transmission?, is Ducati?s response to Honda?s transmission system that Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa have been using to great effect. As the name implies, the DST promises ?seamless? shifting. Honda has been using a new transmission system all season that allows for significantly faster gear changes.
?We decided to make the GP11.1, which is an 800cc engine in a GP12 chassis, in order to accelerate development on next year?s bike, and also to provide our riders with a potentially better base for the current championship,? says Filippo Preziosi, Ducati technical director. ?Considering that Valentino still hasn?t ever ridden the GP11.1, this decision could require some races for the team to completely take advantage of its potential, but we decided to move forward with it because we believe it?s an important step for our development process. The next-generation gearbox, on the other hand, is a solution that we think will be an immediate improvement. The Ducati Corse Department will continue studying further innovations, both for this year and for 2012. At the same time, we have developed an additional step for the frame for Nicky, and he?ll receive the GP11.1 at Laguna Seca.?
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Press release after the jump.
DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM AT ASSEN WITH NEW DEVELOPMENT STEPS
The Ducati Marlboro Team, continuing its development process with the Desmosedici, will introduce a variety of new updates at Assen. Valentino Rossi will take to the track with the next generation of the bike, called the GP11.1. The design process for this bike began after the Sepang tests, with construction beginning after the riders approved the GP12?s chassis during its first test, at Jerez.
For the GP11.1, the Corse Department prepared an 800cc engine that installs in the chassis that Ducati engineers are developing for 2012. The bike will also use a new gearbox, the ?DST- Ducati Seamless Transmission?, the design process for which began in 2010.
Nicky Hayden, who has already used four engines this season, will use a GP11 equipped with the step-2 frame, whose stiffness has been further modified compared to the step-1 version that was introduced at the Estoril test. According to the engine-rotation schedule, he will ride the GP11.1 at Laguna Seca.
Assen is a track that both Ducati Marlboro Team riders like very much, and one where both have achieved strong results: seven victories and three podiums across all classes for Valentino Rossi, one victory and a podium for Nicky Hayden.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Marlboro Team
?Assen is one of my tracks?one of those that I like most and where I?ve had some nice races in all the classes. We?ll try to take advantage of that good feeling and of our experience at this circuit because Thursday morning we?ll debut some updates to my bike that are very promising but also very fresh. Filippo [Preziosi], the guys at Ducati and the Test Team have worked really hard, and that has enabled us to make this new step with the development of our bike. We haven?t had the chance to test the 800 since Estoril, so we?ll do it during the race weekends, being aware that despite having very limited time, we?ll have to focus on two jobs: making basic adjustments to the new technical parts, and finding a general setup for the race on Saturday. We?ll have to do a good job on the track in order to get the most out of the work done at the factory. It will be hard, and we know it might take some time before we can completely reach the potential of the whole package, but we?re happy and motivated by the work we?re doing.?
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team
?There was no GP this past weekend, but the time went by pretty quickly, as I had a test at Mugello and a couple of PR appearances. Now it?s time for Assen, which is an awesome race. I have some good memories there, including a win, and it?s a place I really like, with a lot of history and tradition. The track has changed over the years, but I like the new section. We?ve had a big gap to the front lately, but now we have another new step with the chassis. The first step helped with the feeling, and hopefully this one will also help with the lap time. It?s clear that Ducati is working hard, and that?s motivating for me, for the team, and for all of our Ducati supporters. I look forward to getting my hands on a GP11.1 as soon as possible as well.?
FILIPPO PREZIOSI, Ducati Technical Director
?We decided to make the GP11.1, which is an 800cc engine in a GP12 chassis, in order to accelerate development on next year?s bike, and also to provide our riders with a potentially better base for the current championship. Considering that Valentino still hasn?t ever ridden the GP11.1, this decision could require some races for the team to completely take advantage of its potential, but we decided to move forward with it because we believe it?s an important step for our development process. The next-generation gearbox, on the other hand, is a solution that we think will be an immediate improvement. The Ducati Corse Department will continue studying further innovations, both for this year and for 2012. At the same time, we have developed an additional step for the frame for Nicky, and he?ll receive the GP11.1 at Laguna Seca.?
ASSEN CIRCUIT RECORDS
Circuit Record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda ? 2010), 1?34.525 ? 172.982 Km/h
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha ? 2010), 1?34.515 ? 173.001 Km/h
Circuit Length: 4,542 km
MotoGP Race 2011: 26 laps (118,092 km)
MotoGP Schedule 2011: 15:00 Local Time
Number of laps: 26
Total race distance: 118,092 km
PODIUM 2010: 1st Jorge Lorenzo, 2nd Dani Pedrosa, 3rd Casey Stoner
POLE 2010: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha ? 2010), 1?34.515 ? 173.001 Km/h
DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM?S BEST RESULTS AT ASSEN
2010: 3rd (Stoner)
2009: 3rd (Stoner)
2008: 1st (Stoner)
2007: 2nd (Stoner)
2006: 12th (Hofmann)
2005: 9th (Checa)
2004: 8th (Capirossi)
2003: 6th (Capirossi)
DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM ? RIDER INFO
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP11
Race number: 46
Age: 32 (born in Pesaro 16 February 1979)
Residence: Tavullia (Pesaro, Italy)
GPs: 247 (187 x MotoGP, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
First GP: Malaysian GP, 1996 (125cc)
Number of Wins: 105 (79 x MotoGP, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
First GP win: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)
Poles: 59 (49 x MotoGP, 5 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First Pole: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)
World Titles: 9 (6 x MotoGP, 1 x 500cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc)
Rossi?s MotoGP/500cc track record at Assen
2010: Grid: DNS; Race: DNS
2009: Grid: 1st; Race: 1st
2008: Grid: 3rd; Race: 11th
2007: Grid: 11th; Race: 1st
2006: Grid: 18th; Race: 8th
2005: Grid: 1st; Race: 1st
2004: Grid: 1st; Race: 1st
2003: Grid: 3rd; Race: 3rd
2002: Grid: 1st; Race: 1st
2001: Grid: 3rd; Race: 2nd
2000: Grid: 6th; Race: 6th
Rossi?s 250 track record at Assen
1999: Grid: 1st; Race: 2nd
1998: Grid: 3rd; Race: 1st
Rossi?s 125 track record at Assen
1997: Grid: 1st; Race: 1st
1996: Grid: 8th; Race: DNF
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP11
Race number: 69
Age: 29 (born 30 July 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA)
Residence: Owensboro, Kentucky, USA
Number of GPs: 140 (140 x MotoGP)
First GP: Japanese GP, 2003 (MotoGP)
Number of wins: 3 (3 x MotoGP)
First GP win: USA GP, 2005 (MotoGP)
Poles: 5 (5 x MotoGP)
First Pole: USA GP, 2005 (MotoGP)
World Titles: 1 (MotoGP, 2006)
Hayden?s MotoGP track record at Assen
2010: Grid: 5th; Race: 7th
2009: Grid: 13th; Race: 8th
2008: Grid: 4th; Race: 4th
2007: Grid: 13th; Race: 3rd
2006: Grid: 4th; Race: 1st
2005: Grid: 5th; Race: 4th
2004: Grid: 16th; Race: 5th
2003: Grid: 12th; Race: 11th