New Ducati signing Andrea Dovizioso
insists he wasn't surprised by the 'hard situation' and 'big gap' experienced at Sepang.
Winless since Casey Stoner's departure at the end of 2010, Ducati finished the opening 2013 test with a two-second deficit to the leading Honda and Yamaha riders.
The Desmosedici has barely changed over the winter - "it's the same bike as last year with different paint work" to quote Dovizioso's team-mate Nicky Hayden
- but the hope had been that parts introduced last season were yet to be fully optimised.
“I prefer to speak about evolution rather than revolution and with this in mind first we want to evaluate the material developed in the second half of last year,” newly appointed Ducati Corse general director Bernhard Gobmeier had said in January.
“I think that with this approach we can improve the performance of the bike in the short term, but we are also working on new solutions.”
But after three days in Malaysia, the impression given by the factory riders was that there is little performance left in the present parts - and that they would be more than willing to give 'revolution' a try.
Dovizioso finished the test in tenth place, with a best lap 0.167s behind top Ducati rider Hayden and 2.177s from Honda pace setter Dani Pedrosa.
The Italian insisted he knew the size of the task when he signed for Ducati - taking over the seat vacated by countryman Valentino Rossi, who had suffered the worst results of his career with three podiums in two seasons.
“The situation is hard, but everybody knew that before we came here. The gap is big, but we already knew that as well,” said Dovizioso, who became Tech 3 Yamaha's most successful rider with six podiums and fourth in the Championship last season.
Dovizioso explained that the biggest problem is actually that the Desmosedici has no single weakness - it is lacking a little in all areas - plus the necessary lead time to produce new parts.