Rossi Makes Progress but Hayden Suffers Shoulder Setback
Ducati continues to develop its Desmosedici GP12 MotoGP race bike, setting modest goals while trying to establish a good setup.
Already trailing the other factory teams in development time for its race prototypes, Ducati continued to try to find good base settings for the GP12.
Valentino Rossi achieved the team’s goal of lapping under two minutes and two seconds with a time of 2:01.886 while completing 44 laps on the second day of testing at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit.
“It was another positive day, both because we achieved our goal of lapping at 2:01 and because we managed to make further progress with the bike’s setup. On the other hand, as is normal with a brand-new bike like the GP12, as we progress with our tests we also find other details that can’t be addressed with setup alone and that will therefore have to be perfected in the coming weeks. We had already identified those areas yesterday, acceleration and electronics, and we confirmed the progress made with the front end. Honda and Yamaha have been working on their bikes for a year, while we’ve just had two days, which makes our job particularly challenging, but we already knew that as well. Tomorrow will be important as well because we’ll be able to make an overall assessment of the three days, and we’ll have a clearer idea of where we stand compared to the others. If we manage to stay under one second from the top, I’ll be happy.” – Rossi
Teammate Nicky Hayden however only managed to complete 16 laps as his injured shoulder caused problems. Hayden broke his left shoulder blade in December while training at his private course in Owensboro, Ky., and felt a loss of strength on the second day of testing. Despite limited track time, Hayden still improved on his best lap time by 0.797 seconds to 2:02.354 before handing things over to Ducati test rider Franco Battaini.
“I was okay when I first went out this morning, and on my second lap I managed to make a pretty decent step from yesterday. After that I lost strength in the shoulder and wasn’t really able to ride fast or consistently enough to test much. I’m okay under braking because I can lock my shoulder out, but when the bike shakes I don’t have enough strength to hold on. I didn’t want to crash and cause bigger problems, so I just decided to chill out. It’s a bit of a bummer, but that’s how it goes sometimes. They’ve done a great job with the new bike, and you can see just from looking at it that it’s really slick. I just wish I could ride it closer to the edge and really see what it does and how it reacts to changes. Maybe I’ll do a few more exits tomorrow, but that’s about it.” – Hayden
The fastest Ducati on the second day of testing wasn’t a factory bike but the satellite machine of Pramac Racing. Rider Hector Barbera completed 50 laps to set a time of 2:01.788, a tenth of a second faster than Rossi and sixth overall. Karel Abraham, riding the Cardion AB Ducati Desmosedici, managed a best lap time of 2:02.598, putting him 12th on the time sheet.