Andrea Dovizioso says Ducati still has a huge amount to learn about and extract from its 2015 MotoGP bike, which came close to victory in the Qatar Grand Prix.
Whereas Honda and Yamaha's evolutionary 2015 machines hit the track for initial tests last summer, Ducati's GP15 did not begin running until February this year, as the team fundamentally reorganised its MotoGP programme following four barren years.
Despite that lack of running, the Ducati set the pace in the final pre-season test at Losail and then took both Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone to the podium in last weekend's season-opener, with Valentino Rossi only beating Dovizioso by a tenth of a second.
"We don't have to forget that the bike is really new for us, so to finish one tenth behind the leader in a race is amazing," said Dovizioso.
"We had some feelings but you never know when you're not in the race."
He said the main difference so far was that the GP15 did not require such an extreme riding style, and therefore took less out of its tyres than its predecessor.
"There is a difference because how I ride the bike is different," Dovizioso explained.
"That's the reason why we fought for the victory.
"I can manage the tyre. I don't have to use the energy to pull the bike to stay on the line.
"That was what happened last year. It's not possible to ride like this in MotoGP and stay in front all race. This bike is working very well. I was able to do a similar line to [Jorge] Lorenzo and Valentino."
Dovizioso said Ducati still needed more running to attend to weak points and to fully understand the GP15.
"In the last few laps the traction wasn't special. I couldn't push 100 per cent for the first half of the race. It's normal - the bike is still very new," he said.
"But when you do this kind of race you understand every detail and you can work to improve in the future.
"I believe this bike will be good for every track. But it's still too early to confirm that because we really haven't done many kilometres on this bike.
"We don't have all the situations under control - we don't know everything about this bike so anything can happen.
"We need more kilometres to try different set-ups to understand if we can improve in some areas, like in braking.
"We don't know if what we have in our mind will work. That's why I say we don't know how much we can improve or if we can improve. But I believe the bike can be better."
Ducati has benefited from rules breaks from the MotoGP organisers in the past year, but these will be reduced if it continues to notch up good results.
The first change came after Qatar, with its race fuel allowance brought down from 24 to 22 litres.
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