Hector Barbera is targeting his best ever MotoGP result this weekend in Japan after a surprise last-minute promotion to the factory Ducati team
The Avintia Ducati rider is replacing the injured Andrea Iannone, meaning he will leap from 2014 (wingless) to the very latest 2016 Desmosedici.
The Spaniard, a premier-class rider since 2010, believes he can use the machine to beat his previous best MotoGP finish of fifth.
"It's like a dream, no?" admitted Barbera at Motegi on Thursday. "It's my best opportunity in MotoGP and the Ducati is very fast here; this track is stop-and-go and the Ducati has a lot of power."
Barbera is currently tenth in the world championship, the top satellite Ducati rider, with two fifth-place finishes. He also qualified second on the grid in Germany.
"This year the results have been good. But I want to make my best result here," he declared. "I think this track is good for me. The bike is better; it's the official team. I'm very motivated and ready to start."
Factory Ducati regular Andrea Dovizioso said of his new team-mate: "I've fought with Hector in every championship, so I know him very well and he is a really fast rider. So it will interesting the feedback and we will see what he can do."
Barbera's usual Avintia GP14.2 machine will be ridden by Australian rookie Mike Jones.
By Peter McLaren