After nine seasons, 44 wins and three MotoGP titles, Jorge Lorenzo has left Yamaha to start a new challenge at Ducati in 2017.

Yamaha allowed Lorenzo to test for his new team at Valencia before his contract officially expires, but prevented him from speaking to the trackside MotoGP media.

But Lorenzo then attended the Formula One season-finale in Abu Dhabi as a guest of Monster, where he took part in PR activities for the F1 media, including an exclusive interview with Crash.net.

We spoke to Lorenzo about a variety of topics - his recent Mercedes test, what F1 can learn from MotoGP - and, naturally, his new challenge at Ducati.

"I am very excited, because I just had the chance to try my new bike in Valencia two days after the race. I am not allowed to try it again until the end of January. So it will be two very long months," Lorenzo said.

"Anyway, it's good because I will have some free time and some little holidays. Not so much, because I need to get more [physically] prepared than ever because the bike looks quite hard to ride, so I have to be very prepared.

"But it will be a very exciting challenge, a very exciting year, because almost nobody won before with the Ducati - just Casey Stoner - and for me to be able to fight for it will be a good motivation."

When Lorenzo signed for Ducati in mid-April, the company had not won a MotoGP race since Stoner's departure at the end of 2010. That was corrected when Andrea Iannone took victory ahead of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in Austria. Dovizioso later won in the wet at Sepang.

Some speculated Lorenzo might be annoyed at not being the rider to end Ducati's long victory drought.

But the look of joy (or perhaps relief) on the Spaniard's face as he joined the Desmosedici riders on the Red Bull Ring podium crushed that theory. Lorenzo's body language was that of a rider who now knew he had signed for a winning team - and it's already clear he has his sights set on much more than race victories at Ducati.

Asked about the prospect of winning for the Italian brand, Lorenzo immediately highlighted the fact that only five riders have achieved 500cc/MotoGP titles with different manufacturers.

"It will be very important, because only five riders have won with two different factories in history and only one with Ducati," Lorenzo said.

"Ducati in some ways is like the Ferrari of two-wheels. They have some magical aura, because the design of the streetbikes is fantastic. To be able to win with this factory would be something special.

"Also the fans of Ducati love the brand maybe more than the riders! This doesn't happen in other companies, no?"

The five riders to have won premier-class titles for more than one manufacturer are: Geoff Duke (Norton/Gilera), Giacomo Agostini (MV Agusta/Yamaha), Eddie Lawson (Yamaha/Honda), Valentino Rossi (Honda/Yamaha) and Casey Stoner (Ducati/Honda).

Lorenzo, eighth fastest (+0.8s) at the Valencia test, will next be on track at Sepang in late-January... wearing Ducati red for the first time.