Rossi completes sixth Ducati GP12 test

But was it with an aluminium chassis?

LAPPING Mugello yesterday Valentino Rossi completed his sixth outing out of the allocated eight days allowed for testing the 2012 1000cc bikes.

The seven-time MotoGP champion took over from Franco Battaini, the Ducati test rider was on track on Tuesday and Wednesday. Rossi had a fall during the third lap of his first outing in the morning, crashing unharmed on the exit of the Scarperia-Palagio section.

The crash didn't affect the team's work as Rossi completed 82 laps at the Italian circuit, concluded the test at 6:30pm. Filippo Preziosi and Vittoriano Guareschi were in the garage to follow the test, which had speculation that Ducati were running with a new chassis built by FTR.

“It was an interesting day, although it was also quite long, because we rode until 6:30,” Rossi said after the test. “Developing a bike requires a lot of focus and effort, but it’s also very exciting and fulfilling to be part of a group of people pushing as hard as it can in the same direction. Today we confirmed various aspects of the GP12’s electronics and chassis, collecting a lot of useful information for Filippo and the guys in the factory. I think that the work is well underway as we prepare for our next steps.”

In the shot of Franco Battaini from Sportsmediaset it is difficult to distinguish if the chassis is in fact aluminium as the problem is Ducati's chassis is totally enclosed with carbon bodywork, on both the GP12 and 11.1. The bike snapped in testing shows a slight change to the seat support, which is unpainted on this new picture instead of red, but between the seat subframe and the carbon  bodywork sides that wrap over to the tank, it’s impossible to see anything of the frame. There could be an alloy beam under there, but without strip-down pictures there is no way of telling.

Despite criticism it would seem that Preziosi would prefer to remain the carbon fibre technology, after saying at Misano: "Are we making an aluminum frame? We tested an aluminum chassis in 2009. It’s not a new idea. It’s not the material that makes the difference. It’s the design. We are thinking about chassis solutions in order to have better turning and better feeling."