Hector Barbera hopes the recent Red Bull Ring test was a sign of things to come for the Ducati riders in this weekend's return of the Austrian MotoGP round.

MotoGP hasn't raced in Austria since 1997, but the private test - attended by all but Repsol Honda and Tech 3 Yamaha - was dominated by Ducati riders.

Desmosedicis swept the top four places on the timesheets, rounded out by Avintia's Barbera, who starts the second half of the season as the top Ducati rider (7th) in the world championship standings on his GP14.2.

"I think the track is good for Ducati, which is good news for us," Barbera said. "We usually get closer to the top when we go to new circuits, because everybody starts to work from zero.

"I finished fourth at the test we did at this track before the summer break, but if we leave Stoner aside, then I would have finished third, which gave me a boost of confidence ahead of the race this weekend.

"I don't know if this will change for this weekend, but what I saw is that Yamaha was struggling, and that Honda was not very competitive either. The track is really fast, and if you have a fast bike, life is easier. So I think this will be a good race weekend for us."

Factory Ducati stars Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso led the testing timesheets, but a significant question mark remains over tyre endurance.

Barbera's team-mate Loris Baz has spent part of holidays rebuilding his bike fitness at Valentino Rossi's ranch. The Frenchman thinks the high-speed circuit will be an advantage for the factory bikes, due to their extra horsepower and addition of winglets.

"I want to thank Valentino for inviting me to his Moto Ranch, where I spent two fantastic days riding with all the academy guys," Baz said. "It was an amazing experience.

"I want to get a strong start into the second part of the season, because the first nine races have been quite frustrating for us. We never showed our real potential. I want to get the good feeling back with my bike and I'm looking forward to start at Austria, even though I think we'll see too much difference to the factory bikes this weekend.

"At this track, the engine will be important and also the winglets. But we have to put our head down to fight for a top ten finish. We have the bike to do it and now we just need to get the best out of it."



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