Ducati has confirmed that Valentino Rossi will ride a GP11.1 this weekend at Assen in the Dutch Grand Prix. The GP11.1 features an updated 800cc engine in the GP12 chassis that both Rossi and Nicky Hayden have tested of late. The engine in the GP11.1 also features a new transmission – the “DST – Ducati Seamless Transmission.”Nicky Hayden, who has already used four engines this season, will use a GP11 equipped with a second-generation chassis – a stiffer package compared to the step-1 version that was introduced at the Estoril test, according to Ducati. He will get the new GP11.1 engine in his next engine rotation – in time for the Red Bull U.S Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in July.
“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,” said technical director Filippo Prezioso. “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.”
Rossi is looking forward to the changes while admitting that testing while at a GP can be somewhat difficult.”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,” Rossi said in a team release. “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.”Like his teammate, Hayden is also a fan of the Circuit van Drenthe in Assen.”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,” Hayden said. “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.”
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