The biggest story of this MotoGP off-season so far is Ducati's decision to scrap a carbon-fiber chassis for its MotoGP bike for a more traditional aluminum box frame for the GP12 machine.
By the end of 2011, Valentino Rossi was winless for the first time in 16 Grand Prix seasons and ready to throw the carbon-fiber GP11 chassis into the biggest dumpster in Bologna. It would have been a fitting farewell to Rossi's disappointing first season with Ducati.
So it's hard to believe that Rossi's predecessor in the top seat at Ducati Corse, reigning World Champion Casey Stoner, unsuccessfully begged Ducati to switch to a carbon-fiber model in 2008 even though Stoner won his first world title on the steel trellis-framed GP7 in 2007.
"There were quite a lot of changes, and the biggest thing with Ducati that we found is that in the middle of 2008 we first tried the carbon chassis, and we begged and pleaded for it for the second half of the season so we would have had a very competitive bike to try and win that championship," Stoner said. "But there's no way we got it. We got a lot of things we asked for, but unfortunately eight months late. And then by the time you needed the next thing, you'd have to wait six or eight months.
"That was the biggest thing we struggled with. We just couldn't get what we wanted when we needed it."
That problem seemed to persist into Rossi's first season with Ducati in 2011, as a variety of tweaks and structural changes failed to solve the multiple chassis problems created by the all-carbon GP11. But Rossi reportedly begged for a more traditional frame design for the GP12, and Ducati listened.