Hector Barbera and Karel Abraham could have to wait until the fifth race of the 2012 MotoGP world championship in Catalunya before they get chance to ride the latest GP12 Desmosedici machine.
The satellite duo have used the same specification GP12 that Valentino Rossi tested in Valencia last November during the pre-season campaign to date, with Ducati building a completely revamped factory Desmosedici for the Italian and factory team-mate Nicky Hayden.
Ducati technical boss Filippo Preziosi confirmed in early January that the GP12 Rossi and Hayden are using is 90% different to the spec currently used by satellite riders Barbera and Abraham.
The latest factory bike features a revised engine position to help cure a persistent understeer and lack of front-end feel that plagued Rossi and Hayden during a nightmare 2011.
It also has an updated twin spar aluminium frame that Ducati first began evaluating last September.
Barbera’s Spanish-based Aspar squad confirmed to MCN during the recent second Sepang test in Malaysia that it is likely to begin the new season in Qatar on April 8 with the older version GP12.
Barbera was leading Ducati in Sepang when he clocked the sixth best time, while Rossi and Hayden were a disappointing 10th and 11th respectively.
When asked by MCN when he anticipated riding the latest spec GP12, the Spaniard said: “Ihave not been told this yet. We will know more shortly but most probably we will start the season on this bike I have been using in testing.”
Czech Republic rider Abraham was also cautious on revealing the date when his AB Cardion might take delivery of the new Desmosedici.
Abraham though did hint at the Catalunya race in early June as being the time he expects to debut the latest GP12.
He was forced to withdraw from the recent Sepang test with a right shoulder injury suffered in a testing accident at Jerez. But prior to leaving Kuala Lumpur, he told MCN: “It looks like not for the first races but I hope it is soon. Valentino and Nicky seem happier with it so I'm looking forward to getting that bike."
Asked if the Catalunya race on June 3 was the intended debut race, he added: “Something like that is what I heard but I don't know if it's true. Ducati are working hard to produce the bikes as soon as they can and we will have it early in the season."