After a season in World Superbike, Karel Abraham is returning to MotoGP with the Aspar Team in 2017.
The Czech will also be back on a Ducati, the machine with which he spent his first two seasons in the premier-class and achieved his best result to date of seventh place.
"When I first arrived in MotoGP, which is six years ago now, it was on a Ducati. It was my favourite bike and to come back on a Ducati makes me really excited to start this new challenge," said Abraham, who later raced ART and Honda machinery.
"It is nice to be back," added Abraham, who scored a best finish of ninth on the Milwaukee BMW in WorldSBK. "When I went to World Superbikes it was because I didn't have a good option to stay in MotoGP. But it didn't work out like we hoped and in the end I had to leave the team, I couldn't stay there.
"We saw that there was an opportunity to return to MotoGP with the Aspar Team and it is what I wanted. This is where I grew up, because I started in the World Championship at 15 years of age. I prefer to be in MotoGP, I think partly because I am more used to it."
Despite his fond memories of the Desmosedici, the 2011 and 2012 machines were produced during a period of great change at Ducati, as it desperately sought to make Valentino Rossi competitive.
The previous carbon fibre chassis eventually made way for a traditional twin spar design, but the factory wouldn't return to winning ways until this year.
"Unfortunately during those two seasons [2011 and 2012] the factory was immersed in making a complete change. During my first season the engine was still part of the chassis. Then in my second season we had an aluminium, normal chassis," Abraham confirmed.
"So being in the middle of such a big change during that first season, the bike didn't work. This bike is very different, I feel good on it and have more confidence because I know how it will respond. That wasn't the case before."
Abraham will be using the GP15 this year (team-mate Alvaro Bautista has a GP16), which was the first Ducati fully designed by Gigi Dall'Igna.
"Ducati has always been a factory that produces strong engines, maybe that is the strongest point of the bike," Abraham said. "But it is not easy to compare with the rest of the bikes because I have only had four days of tests and one of those was on the GP14. To me the bike is incredible but it is too soon to answer this question properly."
The lack of knowledge of his 2017 machine, combined with adapting to Michelin tyres and the single ECU, means Abraham is reluctant to set targets at this stage.
"That is a difficult question to answer in January. To put it simply, I would like to have fun out on track. When a rider is having fun, the results usually aren't bad," he said. "But right now it is hard to say what a good result is."
Abraham will be back on track alongside the full line-up of 2017 riders during the Sepang test, which starts on January 30th.