Unlike previous years, there will be no unveiling of the new Ducati MotoGP racer during this week's Wrooom press event at Madonna di Campiglio in Italy.
But seven time champion Valentino Rossi, who is pinning his hopes on the 2012 bike to end his longest winless run in grand prix, says he has seen a virtual version of the GP12.
“For this year, Filippo [Preziosi] designed a different bike, and they've made a big effort at Ducati to have it in time for the start of the winter tests. I visited the factory and saw it on a computer, and it's beautiful,” said Rossi, seventh with just one podium during his debut season at Ducati.
The new bike, the first of the 1000cc era, is set to feature many of the chassis characteristics of the Japanese grand prix machines - headlined by a twin-spar aluminium frame, rather than the futuristic carbon-fibre chassis seen on recent Desmosedicis.
Rossi hinted that MotoGP's use of a single tyre supplier since 2009 - and the limited tyre options that involves - means that there is a narrow margin for design variation.
In other words, Bridgestone naturally provides tyres that best suit the majority of machines on the grid... and the majority of machines use an (unstressed) aluminium twin-spar chassis.
“One of the most important things for going fast is to make the tyres work as they're able to, so together with Filippo, we've tried to come up with a bike that will let them perform as well as possible,” said Rossi, who was the latest high-profile victim of the carbon-fibre Desmosedicis hard-to-feel front end.
“We'll see if we've managed it.
“I like working with Ducati. I feel good here because there's a nice atmosphere and we all have faith,” added the Italian hero.
Rossi's current contract ends after this season, but he intends to race on for at least another two years (see separate story).
Rossi will get his first ride on the GP12 during the start of the Sepang test on January 31.