Ducati expects to introduce a complete new engine package for the United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in July, as it bids to tackle the driveability issues that its riders believe are at the heart of its tough start to the 2012 MotoGP season.
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden have suggested that the Ducati is currently incapable of making use of all the power its 1000cc engine delivers, and that a reduction in power would actually make the bike easier to handle and therefore more competitive.
In a press conference at Estoril on Monday, Ducati technical chief Filippo Preziosi said that to fit with the right timing for the six engines per season rule, it would not be possible to introduce the total package before round 10 in California.
"We have different items we think will be good, so we are optimistic," Preziosi explained. "We have three tests at Mugello in May, June and July and we will test this package in order to be ready for Laguna.
"We are working in two different areas. One is to improve engine driveability. We have a lot of steps planned. We think that we will end up supplying a complete package for the Laguna race."
Preziosi is optimistic that driveability changes will give the riders more confidence. Ducati has yet to finish in the top five this season.
"We believe that the engine driveability will help when you are at full lean and you open the throttle," said Preziosi. "To have a smoother response could help in avoiding that, when you are on the edge, you start to spin up and the bike starts moving and to understeer. But we are doing some other different activities on the chassis side in order to reduce the understeer."
But he added a note of caution, suggesting that Ducati was trusting the riders that making the engine more driveability was the right way forward.
"For the engine we have now, we have a lot of torque even at low rpm, and in fact we are not opening the throttle body at low rpm, because the torque is more than what the chassis is able to use," Preziosi said. "So for that reason there is a question mark that only our riders can answer – if it makes sense to add more torque and less top power, even with this kind of engine? So we are very interested to test this engine and have a final answer to this question."