Ulster suffered a 40-3 defeat against Bayonne in Wednesday's pre-season friendly in France.
Three tries helped Bayonne to a 19-2 half-time lead, with James McKinney firing over a penalty and Ulster's only points of the game.
The French side added another three tries in the second half.
"We're disappointed but it wasn't unexpected given where the teams are in pre-season preparations," said Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys.
Ulster used all 11 replacements and the team came through without any serious injuries.
Humphreys added: "Given that we are missing so many of our regular match-day 23, either through international call-up or injuries, this game has been a very good opportunity and a steep learning curve for our young players who got a chance to see what playing at this level is all about.
"The game was very set-piece orientated, in typically French fashion Bayonne were very strong up front and mauled us a lot.
"But in comparison to our friendly last season against Harlequins which was very similar, this time we actually got some ball although being the first run-out we had too many turnovers which didn't help and a number of their tries came from our mistakes."
"No-one likes to be sitting in the dressing room on the wrong end of a 40 point scoreline but on the whole we're certainly not panicking.
"We have two more friendlies and plenty of work ahead of us before our first competitive game against Glasgow in the Pro12."
Ulster: A D'Arcy; C Gaston, D Cave, I Whitten, R Andrew; J McKinney, P Marshall; T Court, A Kyriacou, D Fitzpatrick; T Barker, N McComb; P Wannenburg, C Henry, R Diack.
Replacements: C Black, P McAllister, A Macklin, J Cronin, J Burns, L Stevenson, M McComish, W Faloon, I Porter, P Jackson, C Gilroy.