Andrea Dovizioso heads for the start of the European 2013 MotoGP season at Jerez this weekend having been the top Ducati rider in the opening flyaway rounds, in Qatar and Texas.

A pair of seventh places may be nothing to shout about, but new signing Dovizioso has impressed by outpacing team-mate Nicky Hayden and threatening the factory Hondas and Yamahas in qualifying.

With major modifications to the Desmosedici not expected until the summer, Dovizioso knows a performance breakthrough is unlikely this weekend, so he's continuing to take things race-by-race.

"The Jerez circuit isn't among my favourites, but anyway, I think that the best approach at this point in the season is to take it race by race, and that's the attitude we have as we head to Spain," said the Italian.

"The Desmosedici GP13 is completely different from the bikes I've ridden in the past, which is fine for me, but we can only make the difference when we're able to improve some characteristics of the bike.

"Last year I managed to finish the race there in fifth place, but the most important thing is to be able to make progress with the bike's development."

Jerez will be the first venue where a pre-season test was held and Hayden is hoping the extra track time will prove positive. "We did get to test at Jerez, and although the weather didn't allow us to get many laps in, that experience will still be helpful," he said.

"Hopefully we'll start out better on Friday and put up a better fight through the weekend than I did in Texas. I've got plenty of support from the guys, so that's definitely not an issue. I look forward to going to Spain and doing our best."

As well as Hayden and Dovizioso, Ducati test rider Michele Pirro will also be participating in this weekend's event, as a wild-card.