Ducati will have two different specifications of motorcycle available for Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden at the United States Grand Prix as they desperately look to close the gap on the frontrunners.
Rossi has been running the GP11.1 in the last three events as the Italian squad searches for improvements, but the reverse has happened, with the nine-time World Champion qualifying down in 16th in Germany last weekend.
As a result, he will also have the GP11 available this weekend in order to carry out some back-to-back comparisons, but perhaps the most important change is the return of Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess who has missed the last two races to look after his wife Claudine as she underwent medical exams.
“I think that we'll try to use both versions of the Desmosedici on Friday so that we can compare them and do some work for both the near term and the future, because we want to learn as much as possible”, Rossi explained.
“We're aware that it could be difficult because we'll also have to be preparing for the race, but we think that in order to improve our bike, it's important to try everything possible. For me, Laguna represents a great corner, the Corkscrew, and many nice memories, including one of the best races of my career, in 2008. In any case, it's always a pleasure to race in the United States because the motorcycle world here is really nice. Of course I'm even happier that Jerry has returned and I look forward to seeing him in the garage again with all the guys.”
Nicky Hayden has been running the GP11 all year, and therefore will have the GP11.1 available for the first time. The American is a two-time winner at Laguna Seca and although he is unlikely to add a third, is excited to race in front of his home crowd.
“Obviously, I'm looking forward to Laguna, because it's a track I love that's very challenging and fun, with a great atmosphere and my home crowd. Turn 1 and the Corkscrew are very technical, and pretty much the whole track links together. On a MotoGP bike, there really aren't any straightaways, because you're always shifting, turning or braking. It's important to have a bike that you feel confident on and can be aggressive with. I'm going to my home GP not in our best moment, but we'll give our best effort like always. It's nice that my brothers are both in the AMA race, and my sisters are both doing a lap on the two-seater Ducati. I think we'll make the final decision on Thursday as to which bike I'll ride, but we'll probably try the GP11.1 at some stage, and I'll see what I can do to try and come up with a good result.”
Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi admits that another weekend of development lies ahead but is still hoping that they will be able to carry Hayden to a strong result on home turf.
“The Laguna Grand Prix is an important round, and it means a lot to Nicky as his home race where he has won twice. His whole family will be here, and both of his brothers will also race during the weekend. We want to put him in a position to have a nice race, he did a good job at the Sachsenring and is on a positive trend. The GP11.1 will be available to him so that he can compare the two versions of the Desmosedici. Valentino will have the same option, we decided to gather as much information as possible for the development of this bike and to help with the GP12. We're also happy to have Jeremy with us again, as he's important for Vale and the whole team.”