Rossi: the GP12 must be short and long
At Estoril he has to start from the finish. More precisely, from the last lap of the Jerez GP, a 1'41”047 which was Valentino Rossi's best time of the race. The basis will be Nicky Hayden's setup, which makes the bike "longer and lower, as opposed to my setup which was shorter and taller; to put it simply," Rossi explained. He then added, "Technically we are starting with the Jerez race setup, trying to adapt it to my riding style, and hoping to make the most of Friday and Saturday practice. We are hoping for good weather, but we won't change our work plan even if it's wet."
The idea situation would be to combine Nicky's early race pace at Jerez, with Valentino's late race pace. "That would be really great - the Doctor continued - a good race would be assured. Nicky and I have demonstrated that the bike has potential, but now we must get the most from it." The tires are another crucial factor which Ducati must get right: "We get our tires up to temperature quickly, but then they also wear out quickly. That said, I haven't had many problems with the front tire. At Jerez I used the harder compound, and it held out for the race distance. Nicky chose the softer compound, he pushed harder in the opening laps and then had issues later on."
As to why the number 46 decided to "copy" the setup of the number 69, Rossi's explanation was quite clear: "His setup is better suited to what's needed to be fast on the Duati, and his performance clearly shows that. His setup helped me find the speed on corner entry that I was missing. That was my biggest problem. Now we can work from this basis to solve our other problems."
And the Ducati engineers will also be working back at the headquarters, preparing the latest updates to the GP12. "I spoke a lot with Preziosi after the first race in Qatar, and I want to improve things quickly. That's why I don't mind running two consecutive races, and then having a test. We are getting into the busy part of the season, and since we started out poorly, it's helpful to have an immediate chance to turn things around."