All this week Valentino Rossi's team of mechanics, who moved with him from Yamaha, have been at Ducati HQ in Bologna assembling the Italian star's 2011 Desmosedicis.

"Both Nicky's guys & us are here building next year's bikes," read a Twitter post by mechanic Alex Briggs. "This is basically the same thing that we did at Honda & Yamaha. It's not special to this year. The other factory teams will all do the same anywhere from now till February.

"By doing it at the factory we have a great chance to speak to the designers & engineers about ideas to improve for the future. The bikes we are building now are the base & will evolve all year. This is also normal."

According to Briggs, Rossi's bike was started for the first time on Thursday.

"We were just about to fire up the bike before lunch, & JB [crew chief Jerry Burgess] said. Wait! If she don't go we won't get to eat lunch (that's why he gets the big $)."

A later post, after lunch, read: "For the record the Riders bike started no prob at 2:05 PM today."

While the bike may be ready, don't expect to see any pictures of it until the official January launch.

"I know u guys are dying for a photo of the bike. But if I do that before the team launch in January, the only dying around here will be me!" joked Briggs.