Gordon Hatch, MotoGP correspondent
Rossi and Hayden ready for 2012
Ducati fans descended on the annual Wrooom Festival today Tuesday 10th January at Madonna di Campiglio in Trento, Italy where factory riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden spoke about the upcoming MotoGP season that sees the introduction of 1000cc machines to the class. Hayden was first to take the microphone and speak to the assembled international press and the 2006 world champion was in good spirits and is recovering well from his injured left scapula (shoulder blade) and two cracked ribs that he sustained in a training incident at home during the Christmas break.
We’re starting with a different spirit.
Speaking to the press Hayden said was he was in good spirits having already removed his sling, “I’m much better, so I’ve been able to remove the sling right on schedule. Here at Madonna di Campiglio, I’m starting to do a little training on a stationary bicycle under the supervision of the team physiotherapist, with the goal of being ready for the Sepang test (31 January – 2 February) as strong as possible. I can’t wait to ride the GP12, because it will be my first time ever. I wasn’t able to try it in the post-race test at Valencia, and I definitely won’t miss the next chance.”
Hayden also spoke about the new 1000cc class and feels it will suit him much better. “I never made any secret that I prefer the new displacement to the 800s, although I think things will be much different than in 2006, beginning with the tyres, and the electronics have also come a long way. We’ll have more power, and we’ll have to find the right balance between controlling it while still taking as much advantage of it as we can. I’ve stayed in contact with Filippo (Preziosi) and the guys in the Ducati Corse department over the winter, and I know they’ve worked really hard. We’ll have a lot of things to try at Sepang. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m also confident that we can start to reduce the gap between now and the first race at Qatar. I believe in Ducati, this project and Filippo, and I want to get back on my Ducati as soon as possible,” he said.
Hayden then passed the baton to a pleased Valentino Rossi, who is motivated to get back in the saddle and start winter testing in just over two weeks. Rossi is keen to get the season underway and is in much better shape than he was going into the first test last year. “We’re starting with a different spirit,” Valentino Rossi began with a smile. “When I came to Wrooom, I was still healing from my shoulder operation, and after that, the season didn’t go at all like we’d hoped. For this year, Filippo designed a different bike, and they’ve made a big effort at Ducati to have it in time for the start of the winter tests. I visited the factory and saw it on a computer, and it’s beautiful. We’re not expecting it to be immedialy perfect at Sepang, but rather to understand if we’ve worked in the proper direction.
“We’re very realistic, and our goal is to reduce the gap to our competition, step by step, working in a logical way, and from there to be able to refine the details in order to be competitive and to try and win. One of the most important things for going fast is to make the tyres work as they're able to, so together with Filippo, we’ve tried to come up with a bike that will let them perform as well as possible. We’ll see if we’ve managed it. I like working with Ducati. I feel good here because there’s a nice atmosphere and we all have faith.”
Wrooom continues tomorrow with the press conference for Filippo Preziosi, Ducati Corse General Manager, who will go into detail on the bike’s development and the technical program that will allow the Desmosedici GP12 to confront the new MotoGP season as well as possible.