Andrea Dovizioso has confirmed that Ducati test rider Michele Pirro will race-test a new chassis and engine management in this weekend's Spanish MotoGP.
While the Desmosedicis of full-time Ducati racers Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden, Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone have only minor modifications relative to last year's machine, Pirro has spent the winter experimenting with more significant developments on a 'laboratory' bike.
This weekend's grand prix could thus be crucial in deciding if the new parts are ready to go or require more refinement.
“I'm quite happy about our results in the first two races, especially Texas,” said new signing Dovizioso, who has qualified on the second row and finished seventh in both events for Ducati.
“But our target is not this. Our bike is still very similar to last year so unfortunately we'll have to wait a few more races for new parts. We have to keep fighting to get the best from what we have.
“This weekend Pirro will be riding the new chassis, with new engine management. So the new parts start to arrive. Unfortunately we [in the factory team] don't have the possibility to use them yet, but anyway it will be important to understand what Pirro can do.
“He was quite fast in Malaysia and also in [private] testing here. It will be interesting to understand his level and then we will have the possibility to try the new chassis on Monday.
“I tried it in Malaysia [during pre-season testing] but it will be important to try again here. It is ideal to have a test straight after a race to compare the chassis with. I hope the weather will help us.”
Jerez is the first of three scheduled wild-cards for Pirro, who joined the Ducati test team after spending last season racing the Gresini CRT machine.