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Work to do for Rossi and Ducati

This week's Valencia test marked the first time that the new 1000cc Ducati had gone head-to-head with 2012 machines from Honda and Yamaha.

This week's Valencia test marked the first time that the new 1000cc Ducati had gone head-to-head with 2012 machines from Honda and Yamaha.

Although no firm conclusions can be drawn, the introduction of a new aluminium twin-spar frame - as used by the Japanese MotoGP bikes - was not an instant fix.

Valentino Rossi, who suffered his first winless season in grand prix using the 800cc Desmosedici this year, finished the test fifth fastest, 1.5sec from the top Honda (Dani Pedrosa) and 1sec from the top Yamaha (Ben Spies).

Rossi had struggled for feeling with the carbon-fibre and then part-aluminium 2011 Desmosedici. He described the twin-spar 1000cc bike as handling 'a bit better'.

"The positives of this bike are certainly the engine, which I like, and the fact that it handles a bit better than the previous one," he said. "It's definitely more fun, in part because you can get sideways more."

Ducati stress that the new aluminium frame is at an experimental stage and Rossi confirmed there is plenty more to do.

"The frame isn't bad, but it needs work," said Rossi, who won his seven MotoGP titles on aluminium twin spar bikes. "We have to improve the braking, because I need to brake harder and later, and we need to improve traction under acceleration. Filippo has many ideas, and now we have a little time to apply them before next year's tests."

While Rossi's team-mate Nicky Hayden was sidelined by a wrist injury picked up in Sunday's race, Ducati Corse technical director Filippo Preziosi called upon test rider Franco Battaini and satellite Ducati riders Hector Barbera and Karel Abraham to contribute to the chassis data.

"We asked Valentino, Franco and the other Ducati riders to carry out a series of comparisons between different solutions, as there are still chassis parameters that we have to define for the project we're working on," said Preziosi.

"It has been really hard work, but we've collected a lot of information that we'll now use for the design that we'll be doing in the coming weeks."

Prior to carbon fibre, Ducati had used a steel trellis frame for its MotoGP machine.

Hayden will likely undergo a small operation in the coming days to speed up his recovery.

The next official test will start at Sepang at the end of January.

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