Valentino Rossi will ride a version of Ducati's 2012 chassis fitted with an 800cc engine from this weekend's Dutch TT in an effort to turn the team's disappointing season around.
The new bike, codenamed the GP11.1, also features a brand-new seamless transmission system. Honda's version of this system is regarded as key to its currently dominant performance.
With MotoGP switching to 1000cc engines this year, the manufacturers have been allowed a limited amount of testing with their 2012 designs, so Rossi is already familiar with the chassis – though he has not been permitted to try an 800cc engine in it prior to this weekend's practice sessions.
Rossi has only taken one podium finish so far this year since joining Ducati, and though he has admitted that fitness issues following winter shoulder surgery have been a factor, he has also insisted that the bike needs a great deal of work.
Ducati's technical chief Filippo Preziosi said that while the GP11.1 should be a definite step forward, the team would need time to fully get comfortable with it.
"We decided to make the GP11.1, which is an 800cc engine in a GP12 chassis, in order to accelerate development on next year's bike, and also to provide our riders with a potentially better base for the current championship," said Preziosi.
"Considering that Valentino still hasn't ever ridden the GP11.1, this decision could require some races for the team to completely take advantage of its potential, but we decided to move forward with it because we believe it's an important step for our development process.
"The next-generation gearbox, on the other hand, is a solution that we think will be an immediate improvement. The Ducati Corse Department will continue studying further innovations, both for this year and for 2012."
Rossi also warned against expecting an immediate upturn in form with the new bike.
"Filippo, the guys at Ducati and the test team have worked really hard, and that has enabled us to make this new step with the development of our bike," he said. "We haven't had the chance to test the 800 since Estoril, so we'll do it during the race weekends, being aware that despite having very limited time, we'll have to focus on two jobs: making basic adjustments to the new technical parts, and finding a general setup for the race on Saturday. We'll have to do a good job on the track in order to get the most out of the work done at the factory.
"It will be hard, and we know it might take some time before we can completely reach the potential of the whole package, but we're happy and motivated by the work we're doing."
Rossi's teammate Nicky Hayden will not get the GP11.1 until his home race at Laguna Seca in July, but will use an upgraded "step 2" version of the 2011 frame from Assen.
"It's clear that Ducati is working hard, and that's motivating for me, for the team, and for all of our Ducati supporters," said the American. "I look forward to getting my hands on a GP11.1 as soon as possible as well."