No brand new Ducati for Sepang test

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Hopes that Ducati could mount an instant recovery from a disastrous two-year spell with Valentino Rossi have suffered an early blow after Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden confirmed they wouldn’t be testing an all-new Desmosedici machine in the forthcoming Sepang test in Malaysia.

The bike the Italian and American will test when the winter preparations resume in Sepang on February 5 will largely be based on the Demosedici both had at their disposal in Valencia at the end of 2012.

A radical overhaul of the GP13 if needed won’t come until Dovizioso and Hayden have carried out crucial tests in the coming months.

Hayden said he had recently visited Ducati Corse’s headquarters in Borgo Panigale and the bike he will ride in Sepang next month will have a familiar look.

Speaking at Ducati’s annual team launch at the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort in Italy earlier today, the 2006 world champion said: “I was in Bologna in the past days to look at the new bike. But the term new bike is not real accurate.

You'll learn more from Bernhard Gobmeier (new Ducati boss).  The bike hasn't changed a lot from last year but we have a lot of clear ideas and to find a direction but it will take time.

Unfortunately time is not really on our side, especially with the engine rule when the motors have to be locked in, so the new boys haven't stepped into an easy situation. But they are very motivated to make up for lost time.  I see a fresh start and lot of good motivation and a lot of fresh ideas. It's clear there is a big challenge ahead of us but also lot of motivation."

Dovizioso said it was correct that he would start the pre-season campaign with the same material that he briefly tested in a rain-hit debut at Valencia back in November.

The former 125GP world champion said: “This is inevitable when you make major changes within a team. You need so many days that require these changes. Ducati has continued to work on certain things but if we speak about the real and proper development we are going to start in Malaysia.

This is a negative of course but it was not possible to do it otherwise. But we must think about the longer term project.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt