Ducati technical chief Filippo Preziosi says the results of the first winter test proved that the team is on the right track with the major changes it has made for 2012.
After failing to win a race in 2011 - despite recruiting seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi to lead its line-up - Ducati has had a total rethink of its bike concept with the GP12.
Rossi was between 0.7 and 1.2 seconds off the pace during the test at Sepang this week, in line with Ducati's hopes for the new bike's first proper run, and Preziosi said the results had vindicated the team's changes.
"You can do simulations as much as you like, but the rider's sensations, the feeling he creates with his bike, remain the only undisputable judgement," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I was afraid that the ideas on how to solve the problems, based on data processing and riders' judgement, were wrong. We are still far behind [Casey] Stoner, but if we look at Yamaha, then we are closer."
Preziosi said clear progress had been made with areas that Rossi had struggled with in 2011.
"The problem was to allow the riders, especially Rossi, to feel the front, with regards to both contact with the surface and turn entry. That objective has been met," he said.
"Why didn't we do it before? That's racing. Honda, too, didn't have in 2009 the bike they dominated with in 2011! You try to solve the problems when they arise, but no revolutions, it's been an evolution."