Jorge Lorenzo's arrival means Ducati expects nothing less than to fight for its first MotoGP title since Casey Stoner in 2007.
But Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali conceded that it may take until 2018 to mount such a challenge against established favourites Honda and Yamaha.
"Last year we showed the speed of the bike and constant progress with the performance. So I think we are ready to take the final step and attack for the world championship," he said.
"We don't see ourselves as a favourite for that, but we have time. The company is a solid, growing, profitable, cash-positive company that can sustain investment and we have a long-term programme.
"So let's see what happens in 2017, but it's not like we have all our eggs in that year.
"Jorge together with Casey will help us understand how to refine the project, because to win the championship means we need to fine-tune every tiny detail and be very good at all different race tracks.
"At some tracks we already have a winning bike. On other tracks still we are struggling.
"So it will depend very much on how quickly Gigi Dall'Igna and his engineers are able to include into the bike the advice of Casey and now Jorge. If it happens in two months, it will be a very big problem for the others!
"If - as most probably - it will take a year, we will have one learning year, trying to do better than last year, but then be much more prepared for 2018."
Pressed further on his timeline for MotoGP title success, Domenicali added:
"2017 is very unlikely to happen. 2018 is more possible, but only one person can win it. I think 2018 we will be a stronger contender, but let's see how the others progress. Maybe Honda makes a super-fast bike, or maybe Vinales start to be a super-strong contender. Or maybe not?
"In the end it's very difficult for all of them. Because it's a long season, with many different conditions; wet, dry, cold, hot and so on. It's not only a matter of speed but of the mind. Staying focussed and being a solid contender.
"We see ourselves as a company that will be a solid contender for the title for the future."
Last season saw Ducati claim its first MotoGP victories since 2010, with a race win each for Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone. Dovizioso will partner Lorenzo in 2017 and 2018.