The pressure is on Ducati and Valentino Rossi this off-season to revamp the Desmosedici for the 2012 MotoGP Championship after a lackluster 2011. But that doesn’t mean Vale et al can’t have a bit of fun at the annual Wrooom press event held jointly between Ducati‘s MotoGP team and Ferrari‘s F1 squad.
Rossi took part in a pair of four-wheeled races on the frozen lake at Madonna di Campiglio where Wrooom took place. Rossi competed against F1 racers Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and reserve drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Marc Genè, riding first karts and then Fiat 500 cars on the frozen surface. Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden was unable to participate due to injury so Rossi’s sidekick “Uccio” Salucci took the Kentucky Kid’s spot.
The Doctor acquitted himself well, winning the kart race and finishing second to Massa in the Fiat 500 race.
“It was really fantastic,” says Rossi. “I practice a lot with karts in the summer, and it was great to drive on the ice, especially because it was much colder this time than it was last year, so the track held up well. Felipe (Massa) was faster than I was, but anyway, it was a great night. I enjoyed myself.”
Things were less positive during the 2011 season with Rossi finishing a disappointing seventh and held off the top of the rostrum for the first time in his career. Work is ongoing and the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 which was noticeably absent from this year’s Wrooom, where the MotoGP bike traditionally gets unveiled. The GP12 will instead make its debut at the Jan. 31-Feb. 2 test at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit.
Ducati Corse boss Filippo Preziosi says the GP12 will use an aluminum perimeter frame and carbon swingarm like the one Rossi tested at the post-season test in Valencia, Spain, but about 90% of the bike is new, with only some parts from the front end remaining the same.
“Normally, it takes two years to complete the process from the calculation stage, to design, to component construction, to test-bench ‘shakedown,’ to track testing, to racing,” says Preziosi. “By compressing this process down to a span of just months, we’ve accepted a challenge that we know will be very difficult, but we believe it’s possible.”