Cal Crutchlow will get an idea of the mammoth task he faces to make Ducati’s struggling Desmosedici competitive in 2014 when he makes his debut for the Bologna factory in Valencia on Monday.
The 28-year-old told MCN he is excited and optimistic ahead of his switch to a bike that has not won a premier class race since 2010 and hasn’t scored a podium for 14 months.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider will ride the current GP13 Desmosedici and a slightly modified version during the three-day test in Valencia next week.
Speaking exclusively to MCN, the former World Supersport champion said: “I am excited and looking forward to it but I will be more interested to see what happens at the tests next year than next week. If I test the bike in Valencia, is that going to be the same bike I will be racing next year? Probably not.
"What am I expected to say that’s different to what the rest have said or what am I expected to feel any different if is the same bike as they have been racing? I am more concentrated on seeing what they bring out next year.
"I don’t expect the bike to be competitive to win the first race next year and it is going to be a long process that I believe will take the two years that I have committed to them.
"We can’t expect Gigi (Dall’Igna – new Ducati Corse boss) to come in and change the bike on Monday afternoon in Valencia. But I am excited and looking forward to the challenge.
"They have been struggling with the package, but there is no reason to think if I jump on it is going to be any better in Valencia. The situation is what it is and I will do the best job I can and I am sure they will do the same for me as well. I think everybody has improved throughout the year but I don’t think their bike has improved at all.
"But I have to be confident in myself that I can do the job for them. There would be no point in me even turning up to ride for anybody if I didn’t believe I could do it. I’m excited and optimistic about this opportunity and if I finish 10th in Qatar that’s the way it is.”
Speaking during his final pre-event press briefing for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in Valencia earlier, the first question to the Briton was about his imminent Ducati debut.
He said: “The plan is I will have one of this year’s bikes and they are bringing another bike, but as far as I am aware it is not drastically different. I don’t think I will need to test for the whole three days though.
"For me it is not going to be a big test or one where I have to go out and be fast. I’ll be getting used to riding the Ducati and we know there are some things different to how I have got them now on the Yamaha so we will be looking at that first and foremost.
"But we fully understand and are aware there is not going to be anything new for this test but in Sepang it will be completely different.
"I’ve never raced a Ducati, so obviously it is going to be a completely different feeling. I am excited and looking forward to it but I don’t expect and they don’t expect any miracles at the first test.”