The Ducati team believe this weekend's Malaysian GP will be as important as any in the development of their 2012 machine as they return to the circuit for the first time since February. The Italian squad gave the GP11 one of its first run-outs at Sepang before the season started and with plenty of changes having been made since, the team will be interested to see the comparison eight months on.
Valentino Rossi will also be keen to bounce back after two consecutive non-finishes and the six-time Sepang winner hopes his luck will turn this weekend.
“I like the Sepang circuit a lot, although the weather conditions are always extreme. We didn't have much good luck in Australia, and we also had to work harder than expected on the bike's setup. We hope to do better here in Malaysia starting on Friday. Anyway, we'll also be able to verify where we are compared to the tests that we did here last year. We tested many days at Sepang, and it will be interesting to compare things now with what we had then.”
Teammate Nicky Hayden has impressed in recent weeks and ran as high as second in Australia last time out. The American expects the Sepang circuit to provide the ultimate test for their hybrid 2012 bike.
“The conditions in Malaysia are typically hot and steamy, very different from what we had at Phillip Island on Sunday. The Sepang circuit has a good mix of everything, so you need the bike to do everything well. There are some long straightaways where you need a fast bike that brakes well, along with some fast corners, like Turns 5 and 6 and a section in the back. On the other hand, there are also some slow little hairpins, so it's a good mix of everything that really challenges a rider and bike. It will be interesting to get back on this track after spending a lot of time here in February. The bike has changed a lot, so we'll see what kind of progress we've actually made.”
Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi has promised that their aggressive development strategy will continue and has stressed the need to collect data ahead of next season while also chasing a good result.
“Here in Malaysia, we'll continue working on the GP11.1, both for the race and in order to gather information for our work program with an eye toward 2012. The conditions will be opposite to those in Australia. It's very challenging from a physical point of view, both for the riders and for the team, which is working extremely hard on many fronts in this final part of the season. The Desmosedici that will take to the track on Friday is different from the one we used in the winter tests, and this event will let us make some interesting comparisons with the data that we collect.”