Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo's team manager has admitted to being taken aback by the Spaniard's speed straight out-of-the-box on the first day of pre-season 2011 testing at Sepang in Malaysia, as preparations for the title defence began in earnest.
Lorenzo ended proceedings on day one of the official group outing second-quickest to Honda rival Casey Stoner, four tenths adrift of the Australian as he re-familiarised himself with the YZR-M1 and began the process of parts and electronics testing. Considering the 23-year-old had not ridden a motorbike in anger for two months over the winter break, Wilco Zeelenberg was impressed.
“I'm very pleased with our first session here at Sepang,” reported the Dutch former 250cc star. “I'm actually quite surprised at Jorge's speed, as normally after a two-month break it takes him longer to get into the rhythm because he's a very smooth rider, so a break means you miss the rhythm.
“We had received good information by the end of the day, so we have been able to make some steps and reach some decisions. Tomorrow we have some more things to test, but for today we are quite satisfied.”
Lorenzo's new Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies similarly lapped beneath the fastest lap time from the 2010 Malaysian GP in fifth spot overall, just under four tenths adrift again, and the American's thoughts about the day can be read here
As the duo prepare to carry a special 'one-event' Yamaha Factory Racing Blue de-branded design on days two and three as part of the ongoing Yamaha World GP 50th Anniversary celebrations – and steel themselves for further development work and Bridgestone tyre-testing – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director and Spies' team manager Massimo Meregalli expressed his contentment with the opening day's results.
“After a long rest, we have to be satisfied with the first session,” the Italian underlined. “Our riders used today to get back their speed, and we are happy to see they were both consistently fast. Tomorrow, we will start to do some work on the bikes and collect further data.”