Having struggled for the first half of both previous Moto2 seasons, 2012 testing - which starts at Valencia this week - will be especially important for Scott Redding and the Marc VDS team.
Redding and team-mate Mika Kallio have both been retained for 2012, but the team has switched from a Suter to Kalex chassis for the third year of the 600cc grand prix class.
Redding quickly adapted to his new machinery by leading the final test of 2011 at Jerez and the 19-year-old Briton is eager to continue the Kalex momentum.
"After a couple of months off the bike, I'm really looking forward to getting back to work at Valencia,” said Redding, who failed to score in the first four rounds of last season. “We need to be on the pace from the first practice session in Qatar, so these pre-season tests are critical.
“In the past we've come away from tests convinced we've got a good set-up on the bike, only to have problems in the first few races. The advantage we have this season is that we know the new Kalex is good.
“From the first test last year I felt confident on the bike, able to push harder because it didn't feel like I was going to crash in every corner. Now we need to focus on refining the set-up and confirming and reconfirming any changes we make. If we can do this during testing then I'm confident we can fight at the front from the very first race this season."
Former MotoGP rider Kallio scored just once in the opening nine rounds of 2011, but racked up points in seven out of the last eight races, culminating in a first Moto2 podium at the Valencia finale.
"First impressions of the Kalex were very positive, both for me and the team,” confirmed Kallio. “The bike works really well and, during the post-season test at Jerez, we were posting the same times as the old bike almost immediately. There is definitely more to come, as we learn more about the set-up and I adapt my riding style to get the best from the bike, so I'm pretty confident going into pre-season testing.”
The Finn's confidence has been further boosted by crew changes for the coming season. The vastly experienced Manuel Olivencia will be Kallio's chief mechanic, while former Stefan Bradl mechanic, Stefan Haseneder, will work alongside Christian Aussems on the bike.
“I have some new people in my crew this season and we're already starting to work well together. They seem to have the same ideas about set-up as I do, which makes the testing process easier. If we can continue where we left off last year then there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to run at the front in 2012,” he said.
The three-day Valencia test starts on Wednesday February 8 and will be followed by another three days at Jerez from Thursday February 16. The final three-day pre-season test also takes place at Jerez, commencing on Monday March 19.