The new Ducati Desmosedici may not have set the world alight in terms of lap times at the opening MotoGP tests, but Andrea Iannone insists the first sensations are positive and that he is ready to build on an impressive 2015.
A multiple race winner in 125cc and Moto2, Iannone was promoted to Ducati's official team for his third year in MotoGP, when he claimed his first premier-class podiums, pole and fastest lap on the way to fifth (and top Ducati) in the world championship.
Along the way, Iannone enhanced his reputation as a hard racer by being in the thick of some memorable battles, including arguably the overtake of the season when he passed both
Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez in a single move at Phillip Island.
Iannone twice dislocated his shoulder during the season, but made a last minute U-turn on plans for winter surgery, saying the rehabilitation period was too long and he would instead focus on strengthening the limb through training.
Iannone then joined team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in making his debut on the 2016 Desmosedici at Sepang in February. He has finished the two official pre-season tests to date with the eighth (+1.472s) and tenth (+0.726s) best lap time, at Sepang and Phillip Island respectively.
“I began my career in MotoGP with the Pramac Ducati team in 2013 and this will be my second year with the factory team,” said Iannone, speaking at today's unveiling of the Ducati Team's 2016 livery.
“I will start the season aiming to improve the good results I achieved in 2015, and for sure I will give my all throughout the season, trying to make progress race after race.
“I tested the new Desmosedici GP at Sepang and Phillip Island and my first sensations are positive. I believe that it will be a very competitive bike and allow us to achieve the aims to which we aspire and I can't wait to get going.”
The final pre-season test takes place in Qatar on March 2-4, with the first race also at the Losail circuit on March 20.
Iannone finished third in Qatar last season, just 2.250s from race winner Valentino Rossi.