Pramac's Yonny Hernandez gave the new 'Open' class version of the Ducati Desmosedici MotoGP machine its track debut at the start of private testing at Jerez on Wednesday.
The revised Open category, for non-factory entries, requires use of the complete control ECU system - but allows four litres of extra fuel per race and twelve rather than five engines changes during the season, relative to the factory bikes.
While Hernandez has been shifted to the Open class, team-mate Andrea Iannone - like official Ducati Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso
- will continue with the 'factory' specification Desmosedici.
Factory bikes must also use the control ECU hardware, but are free to run their own software.
Honda, Yamaha and Ducati are all providing machinery for the new Open category, which replaces the privateer CRT class. However Hernandez's Ducati is expected to be the least modified relative to factory spec - most predict the ECU to be the only real difference.
While Honda and Yamaha have cost and confidential technology to consider when selling (Honda) or leasing (Yamaha) Open machinery to independent teams, Pramac is already Ducati's official satellite team and the Open bike will not cost more than the 'factory' bike it has replaced.
The full control ECU system is predicted to be made compulsory in MotoGP eventually and, by joining Honda and Yamaha in an Open class entry, Ducati will also be well prepared for any future transition.
Hernandez and Ducati are testing alongside the fellow Open class machines of Forward Racing (Yamaha) and Avintia (FTR Kawasaki) as well as some WSBK and Moto2 teams.
Unofficial lap times suggest Forward's Aleix Espargaro is currently setting the pace with a 1m 40.048s, which would have been the fifth fastest race lap in May's Spanish Grand Prix!
The winter test ban starts on December 1.