MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi was officially presented as a Ducati rider on Tuesday at the Wrooom Press Ski Meeting in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.
Now free from his Yamaha contract, Rossi was able to wear full Ducati Marlboro colours and talk publically about the Desmosedici motorcycle, with which he will try to become the first rider in history to win premier-class titles for three different manufacturers.
“The Ducati is a real prototype, very different from the Japanese motorcycles that I know,” said Rossi, speaking at a press conference. “It has to be ridden in a more 'dirty' way.
“We'll have to meet each other halfway: make the bike like I like, and as for me, adapt my riding style a little to try and make the most of the bike."
The seven time MotoGP champion was just 15th fastest on his Ducati debut, in plain black, during testing at Valencia in November - after which he underwent surgery on the shoulder injury he had carried since falling from a motocross bike in April.
Rossi warned that he is unlikely to regain full strength in the shoulder until this April.
That means Rossi won't be able to make the most of the three pre-season tests, starting at Sepang on February 1 - and still won't be at full strength for his Ducati race debut at Qatar on March 20.
"Honestly, I had hoped to be a little better by this time,” he said “but instead, it's going to be quite a race to have decent fitness in time for the first test.
"My recovery is exactly on schedule, but it's long: we're working hard to at least recover mobility in my shoulder, which I'll need to ride the bike well and to be able to fit behind the windscreen.
"I won't be able to be in top form for the first test in Malaysia, because it will be impossible to regain full strength, but I hope to be able to have a good seating position. The doctors assured me that the shoulder will return to 100% in a few months.