Ducati was forced to delay the officially unveiling of its new Desmosedici GP9 MotoGP machine due to snowfall at Madonna di Campiglio in Italy on Wednesday.
The traditional outdoor photo shoot against the backdrop of the Dolomite mountain range will now take place on Thursday, but pre-prepared shots of the new bike in its full race livery were released (pictured) to the media, while a press conference with Ducati Corse CEO Claudio Domenicali went ahead as planned.
Domenicali began by reviewing the 2008 season, in which Casey Stoner - the team's 2007 world champion - won six races and finished second only to Valentino Rossi. Stoner showed incredible pace throughout the year, but lost points early in the season due to handling problems, then fell from the lead twice after the summer break.
The young Australian was still able to take six race wins, but the three other Ducati riders were rarely seen anywhere near the front; with the exception of two podiums for Alice's Toni Elias.
"Last season was certainly exciting, with some great moments for us and others that were obviously difficult," said Domenicali. "When you look at the numbers we won six races, set pole position on nine occasions and set the fastest lap in eight races. If it wasn't for probably the best Valentino ever, coming back from two difficult seasons and rediscovering the strength to have an exceptional season, those numbers would have surely added up to a successful defence of the world title.
"When you consider these excellent results and the fact that Casey is still only 23 years old, with plenty of potential to improve even more, once the disappointment is out of the way we can't be anything but satisfied with 2008 and confident about the season to come."
The main talking point of the 2009 Ducati is its carbon fibre frame, a development which marks a giant leap forward from the factory's former steel trellis chassis. Ducati's MotoGP rivals all use aluminum frames.
"For 2009 we have many new things, starting with the bike: the GP9 is characterised by a major change in the chassis, with the switch from the traditional Ducati steel trellis chassis with a carbon fibre frame that brings the upper part of the engine up to the level of the steering column," confirmed Domenicali.
"It is a change we have thought about and tested for a long time, firstly with Vittoriano [Guareschi], who is always our first point of reference. He gave his approval to the new system and then the official riders tested it at Barcelona. We won the MotoGP World Championship with the trellis frame so it clearly a very effective design but we have been looking to take another step forward that can help us overcome some of the problems we've had, specifically with the MotoGP bike."
Ducati has also worked on improving its V4 engine, with the emphasis on rideability rather than outright performance.