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In regards to the 40 year old testing, I say that is fine, so long as it is Troy Bayliss. Let him have a few wildcards in payment for testing. If nothing else, the bike would be pushed to its limits both on and off the track!
My thoughts on fans watching this year, take it slow. Expect Ducati to catch up about 0.7 per lap by the end of the first half of the season, then by the end, they should catch another 0.2 - 0.4 seconds per lap. They still won't be "there", but they will be closer, and showing progress.
On the bright side, with 4 "equal" Ducatis running about, this may be the best position fighting all race after the first 3 laps.