Valentino Rossi tested Ducati's 1000cc GP12 for the first time at Jerez today, and declared it more fun than the team's 2011 bike.
Ducati is the first works team to test a 2012 rules bike in public. Team boss Vito Guareschi had done the initial laps on the bike on Thursday before handing over to Rossi today and Nicky Hayden for Saturday.
"I'm happy," said Rossi. "I like the GP12. In my opinion, it's more enjoyable, more fun to ride.
"It was the first time we had it on the track, so we had some work to do, but the engine is nicer. It's a lot of fun, and you can do some nice slides. It's the bike we'll ride next year, so it was very important – and also very nice – to be among the first to take it on the track."
Technical director Filippo Preziosi was pleased to have the race riders involved in the process from the outset.
"We chose to have our factory riders – today Vale, tomorrow Nicky – try the bike beginning with its first test, because we think their feedback is essential for starting us on the right path for the early development," Preziosi said. "To be able to work with Vale for a full day is more than any technician could ask. We gathered considerable feedback that we'll translate into further design and development for next year's bike."
Preziosi said the early indications were very promising, and that the bike seems well suited to Rossi.
"The positive thing is that the technical choices made for the GP12 in the initial planning phase, in 2010 – and I'm referring primarily to the engine, which is still a big bang, and to the rear end – were endorsed by Valentino," he said. "This gives us great satisfaction, and we're optimistic about the work that still remains to be done.
"We know that our competitors are also working hard and developing their 2012 bikes, but that just makes the challenge better."