Rossi's Desmosedici GP11.1 in detail

The Ducati Desmosedici GP11.1 undressed

OVERALL the Ducati Desmosedici GP11.1 being ridden by Valentino Rossi at Assen is essentially a brand new bike bringing together the development of the 1,000cc bike for 2012 and fitting the 90º V4 800cc engine from this year's machine.

The biggest change in relation to the engine is the addition of the new DST (Ducati Seamless Transmission) clutch to the gearbox. An attempt by Ducati to shorten the gap that Honda have achieved with their advanced clutch, a component that has seen the return of the 'Honda lane' speed of GP folklore.

Only minor elements from the previous GP11 have been brought across to the next version; the wheels, brakes and front forks. The step-2 frame taken from the 2012 prototype chassis continues the carbon monocoque design and includes the new swingarm design and linkage, moving the bracing for the arm from the top to underneath.

The programme has been fast-forwarded enabling Ducati to work on developing the new bike at the track. What Assen has become for Ducati/Rossi, as MotoGP tech expect Neil Spalding rightly called it, is 'FP0 for Mugello'.

The Italian round is likely to be one of - if not - the most important race for Rossi as the circuit holds a significant history, having claimed six race wins making it one of his most successful tracks. It is not only a home race for both rider, manufacturer and team as the Bologna factory is located closely to Mugello, and it is sure to attract a media and fan frenzy for Ducati and Rossi.

For qualifying the seven-time champion could only manage a time of 1:36.564 to take up 11th position on the grid, 1.846 seconds off pole. The Italian star spent the majority of the session outside the top ten.

The question for tomorrow's race is whether Jeremy Burgess can wave his wand in warm-up to find the answers to his rider's woes.