Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden Test In Misano

Cycle News Staff | September 17, 2012

A day after posting his best finish of the season on his Marlboro Ducati, Valentino Rossi was back to work today at the World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in Misano, Italy, with yesterday’s second-place finisher joined by teammate Nicky Hayden for a one-day test.

Hayden, who is still battling the effects of his still-healing right hand, only rode in the morning, but tried the frame and swingarm that Rossi used to such good affect in yesterday’s Grand Prix. Rossi, meanwhile, tried a different version of that chassis – with the same geometry but with a different stiffness.

Test rider Franco Battaini also took part in the test as he concentrated on testing “electronic developments.”

“It was a good day,” Rossi said after his 53 laps. “Today we tried a different chassis that had a different stiffness, but honestly, I didn’t like it a lot. It was an improvement in some areas, but we had some new problems in other areas. In the end, it’s not a real improvement, so I don’t think we’ll use it again. But the positive thing is that we tried a new swingarm that I liked a lot because it gave me more edge grip and more rear grip under acceleration, and it helps the bike to stay more stable on corner exits. So of the two things, one worked. I think we’ll use the new swingarm starting in Aragon, so there we’ll see what our potential is on another track.”

Hayden completed just 14 laps, but liked the new chassis.

“In order not to stress my hand too much, we only did two runs today-one with basically my race bike, and one with the new frame-but it was nice to get an idea of the chassis,” Hayden said. “I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to notice the difference, but I could actually feel more than I expected. I felt better with it, for sure. I had more confidence because there’s better front grip for braking into the corners, and because of that, also better turning. I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction, straight away, and I’m happy with the work Ducati has done. Because I was able to brake a bit differently, I’ll probably need to stiffen the fork spring a bit, but already, it was a good step. I’m quite happy, and at Aragon we’ll start to work on the setup.”

Technical director Filippo Preziosi liked the results of the test.

“It was a very useful test,” he said. “We had prepared a chassis that was the same as that used by Valentino [Rossi] in yesterday’s race in terms of geometry, but different in terms of rigidity. Valentino gave us feedback that will allow us to design an evolution that has the positive characteristics that he noticed, and which match what we expected from the calculations we had made, but without losing precision. We also had a different swingarm that Valentino liked, so we’ll bring it to Aragon. Nicky did his first comparison between the pre-Misano frame and swingarm and those used by Valentino yesterday. His initial comments were positive, but we’ll have to check again at Aragon when his physical condition is better. Based on the data we gathered today, we’re speeding up production of the next step of the frame, which could arrive before Valencia.”