This weekend's Aragon MotoGP should provide a clear verdict on the level of improvement offered by the latest Ducati developments.
Valentino Rossi took a new chassis and swing-arm to second place last time out at Misano, matching his best ever Ducati result and finishing just four-seconds behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo
However that was at a circuit where Rossi had previously tested with those parts and Aragon will offer a brand new challenge.
“We come to Aragon with a positive outlook after the Misano result, even if we also know that every race has its own story,” began Rossi.
“It will be our first chance to check if the progress we've made will also be confirmed at this track, which is very different from Misano.
“It's fast and challenging, and managing the tyres at lean angle is very important.
“Concerning that, during the test after the last race, we tried [another new] swing-arm that I liked as it provides a bit more grip with the bike leaned over and stresses the tyres less.
“Anyway, we'll see. It will be a chance to understand if we've really improved.”
Aragon has been a tough track for Rossi, who has finished just sixth (Yamaha) and tenth (Ducati) in the previous events.
Team-mate Nicky Hayden
will be making his debut with the latest Ducati parts this weekend, the injured American having continued with the standard chassis and swing-arm at Misano.
“For me, Aragon is a fun circuit. I like tracks that have a bit of elevation change, and Aragon definitely has some ups and downs. There are also some blind parts that make it technical but also enjoyable, as well as some good places to pass,” said Hayden, who finished third in the inaugural 2010 race.
“I'm looking forward to seeing how much better my hand will be than it was at Misano, and also to having the new chassis.
“I definitely had a little bit better feeling with it at the test, so it will be nice to go there and start with it. I'm sure we'll need to make a couple of adjustments to the set-up, but I'll be interested to see how we can get on there.”
Unlike Honda and Yamaha, Ducati did not take part in September's private Aragon test, choosing Misano instead.
However Ducati were present for the single-day official test, held at Aragon in June.