MotoGP testing limits will be abolished for 2012 removing at least one of the barriers that has made development of the Ducati Desmosedici painfully slow for Valentino Rossi and his star crew chief, Jeremy Burgess.
One of the contributors for the failure of Valentino Rossi to repeat his stunning transformation of the Yamaha from dog to opening race winner with Ducati this season has no doubt been the strict limits on testing. Not only was Rossi injured when he first rode the Ducati Desmosedici GP11, he had precious few other opportunities to develop the machine.
In effect the team has turned 2011 into a only semi effective development effort for 2012. For although the current spec GP11.1 is essentially a GP12 (or at least how the GP12 was originally conceived) but with a 800cc engine, the differences in power and power delivery have meant that many of the benefits Rossi has seen in testing the bigger bike have, frustratingly, not translated well to the current racer. And in turn what he learns on the GP11.1 may not translate so well to the more powerful machine to be used next year.
All this is set to change with the change in the rules that restricted testing of MotoGP machines by contracted racers to only a handful of opportunities each year. From the final race of the 2011 season factories will be able to test with their contracted riders as often as they like at a nominated track as long as they don’t exceed a maximum tire limit of 240 (120 sets).
So why the change? Well the intention of the original restriction was to lower costs and they have simply done no such thing. Instead the factories have had to employ factory testers who cannot ride the machines fast enough to provide the quality of input that would assist the factory racers.The proposal for change came from the factories, with Ducati leading the charge with the full support of Honda. Formal approval is expected to come from the Grand Prix commission shortly.