Ducati’s ‘Virtual’ Bike

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You can’t sit on it, you certainly can’t ride it, but Ducati’s 2012 GP12 race bike started to take shape in Italy this week. Tuesday morning saw the first of the interview sessions scheduled for Wrooom, the annual media ski week held at Madonna di Campiglio for PUMA’s partner teams Ducati and Ferrari. 

The two-wheeler brigade took to the stage first, with both nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi and 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden sounding optimistic about the season ahead. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa make their first official appearance of the year this Thursday.
In contrast to last year, when ‘Vale’ was recovering from a broken shoulder which compromised his season, the Italian looked fit, well and responded to questions from journalists in a confident frame of mind, although he remained sanguine about the challenges that the 2012 Moto GP season presents.
If the Italian was in recovery mode last winter, this time round it was his unlucky team-mate who arrived in the Dolomites nursing a fractured left scapula and two broken ribs after falling off a bike in late December. However, the American star seemed effervescent and supremely confident of being fit in time for the first all-important pre-season tests in Malaysia, which kick off on 31 January.
Unlike previous years, when the new race bikes were unveiled in Madonna di Campiglio, Ducati has elected to devote as much time as possible to technical development of the GP12 in order to give the bike the longest period of technical ‘gestation’ and thus the best chance of success on the track.So to date the riders have only seen the GP12 in virtual form, but they were both heavily involved in the new bike’s development, and are able to read ‘between the computer lines’. However, until the new bike hits the track in anger it remains an unknown quantity, Even today, Filippo Preziosi, Ducati Corse General Manager, did not reveal much about the technicalities of the new bike, leaving a lot of options open for driver feedback.