Rossi, Hayden Get Help From the Boss

Henny Ray Abrams | January 17, 2011

While Nicky Hayden was training in California and Valentino Rossi was home in Tavullia, Italy, their boss was hard at work making sure they had an improved Desmosedici GP11 when they arrived in Sepang, Malaysia on February 1 for the first test of the new year.Former test rider and current team manager Vitto Guareschi strapped on his helmet to join test rider Franco Battaini in evaluating a number of components under the watchful eye of technical director Filippo Preziosi on the first of three days of testing at Jerez de la Frontera, site of the April Spanish Grand Prix.Guareschi said at last week’s Wrooom press intro in the Italian Dolomites that he would concentrate on chassis improvements, while Battaini worked on the electronics package, specifically the new anti-wheelie settings.Guareschi also said the GP11 Rossi and Hayden will test in Sepang won’t be the final version of the race bike they carry into action in the March 20 season-opener in Qatar. A number of parts, including the carbon fiber front sub-section and new Ohlins fork, have been ordered, but won’t be ready until the second Malaysia test towards the end of February.”It was a very productive day,” Guareschi said after completing 50 laps on a humid day. Battaini ran 60 laps. “Even though the track’s grip was really bad, in part because of the high humidity and in part because the F3 test that took place until yesterday left the asphalt quite dirty.”As planned, Batta [Franco Battaini] and I divided the responsibilities. I worked on the chassis, with the goal of improving turn-in, while Franco concentrated on the electronics, including the new anti-wheelie and anti-spin systems that we’re testing and adjusting.”I think I found a couple of interesting things with set-up that help with the front end feel. We worked on ride height, seat position, and on many aspects of bike set-up that will help with all of the data acquisition work that is necessary to be ready for Malaysia, when Vale [Rossi] and Nicky [Hayden] will ask us to change the bike in various ways. It’s a refinement process that will proceed for the two days in order to speed up the factory riders’ work in Malaysia.”


Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.