New factory Ducati MotoGP signing Andrea Dovizioso says he is ready for the challenge ahead, as he faces his first season on a bike that seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi failed to master.
Dovizioso, who joins Ducati from Tech 3 Yamaha and was previously a race winner with the factory Honda team, described his move as a “long-term project” as he aims to help bridge the gap between the Desmosedici and the pace-setting Honda RC213V and Yamaha M1.
“The objective is simple. We must work to reduce the gap,” said Dovizioso, speaking at Ducati's Wrooom press event on Tuesday in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.
“I chose this challenge because I know I can do well. I need to get to know everyone, but it is a long-term project and the first race will be less focused on the results.
“Each bike has its own philosophy and you have to find all the positives of the Desmosedici. Much will depend on what will have to change.
“We have to be open to any changes. Based on the time available, we will make the possible and necessary changes,” he added.
“It makes no sense to speak on a technical level yet, because I've spent too little time riding the Desmosedici.
“What is sure is that for the 2013 season we will start with the same material from the end of last year.”
Dovi has been suffering from an old neck injury, which caused him to miss a private test in November, but expects to be “fine” for the opening official 2013 MotoGP test at Sepang in early February.
“I have a micro herniated C5 C6 in my neck. I had some problems in the Rally of Monza and in Jerez de la Frontera at the first corner, where it just locked up,” he said.
“I'm fine, even if the micro fracture is still there. It will take a bit more treating, but I'll be ready for Malaysia. My first impression of the bike, however, was good.
“I expected a totally unmanageable bike after what I had been told, but it was not.
"At Jerez the neck problem stopped me, but now with six days in Malaysia, there will be time to figure out the Ducati.”
Dovizioso will ride alongside Nicky Hayden, preparing to start his fifth season at Ducati.