The first pre-season MotoGP test of 2011 ended today at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit. Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were able to take advantage of three full days on the track with no rain, a rare occurrence in this Asian country, and that enabled the Ducati Marlboro Team to return to Italy with a large quantity of information and data that can be used to continue the development of the GP11.
Valentino Rossi pronounced himself very satisfied with the progress made on the GP11’s setup, allowing him to drop his best lap time by over seven tenths compared to yesterday. Despite being limited by his still-healing shoulder, the Italian was also happy with his physical progress and with the work done by his team.
Nicky Hayden also improved each day, and he looks forward to seeing the fruits of his labor at the next test, which will once again take place at Sepang, February 22-24.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 8th, 2:01.534 (60 laps)
“It’s great to be back here, and to be back on the bike. We had three important days with a lot of work to do. Of course I don’t like to still be so far away from the leaders, but we’ve reduced the gap every day. Today it looked like it could rain at any time, so we did a lot of laps in the morning and found some stuff we like. We chased the chatter a lot, which cost us time trying to figure out what’s going on. Last year, that was something we only had a problem with at this one track. We don’t want it anywhere, but it could be a problem that’s not related to the GP11 in general and is specific just to this track. We also tested some tires for Bridgestone and gave them some information that can help down the road. We realize there’s still a lot of work to do, and that starts with the rider. When we come back, we'll keep reducing the gap to the front guys.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 10th, 2:01.842 (52 laps)
“I’m very happy because before coming here, I expected to do 20, 30 laps per day, and as it turns out, I did around 40 each of the first two days and over 50 today. Of course I was really finished by the end, in part because the rest of my body has to work differently; my left arm has to do extra work, so it’s very tired. But I’m really happy with my shoulder because it’s improving day-by-day, and even after the stress of having ridden a MotoGP bike at the limit, I don’t have any problems: now it’s just a question of strength. My mobility has improved a lot, and I no longer think my physical limitations cost me a second; let’s say I lose five or six tenths, especially on braking and in corner entry. Anyway, we worked well today too, and we were able to collect a lot of data and solve the chattering problem we were experiencing. Obviously, there’s still a lot to do, but compared to the start of the test, we’ve definitely gotten closer to the base setup we’re looking for. There’s no need to change the Desmosedici’s character; we need to take advantage of its best characteristics—its stability and its engine—and improve the other areas, especially the in-corner behavior, to make it turn better. In any case, the overall evaluation of the test is definitely good; today we’re a second off the top riders, and also in the afternoon, riding with race tires, the distance stayed around seven or eight tenths. I still have to do more kilometers in order to understand other aspects of the GP11 but, although I have to change my riding style a little, I now feel much more at home with the Ducati.”