Bradley Smith will head for his first Moto2 grand prix, at Qatar next week, with confidence after testing 'everything in the truck' during a grueling 160 laps on his new Tech 3 Mistral machine at the Jerez test.
The first day of the final pre-season Moto2 test was disrupted by rain, but improved conditions on the last two days allowed former 125cc star Smith to increase his experience of the heavier and more powerful 600cc four-stroke.
Smith was particularly impressive on the second day, when the 20-year-old set the sixth best time.
The #38 didn't improve on that lap during day three, leaving him eleventh overall (+1.300sec), but he was able to produce a much more consistent final day race pace, having worked closely on a range of settings with crew chief Tom Jojic.
"I am quite tired now as we did 160 laps in two days but it was hard work we needed to put in and it was definitely worth it,” said Smith. “We tested everything we had inside the truck, so we know exactly how the bike is working and in what direction we have to go when the racing kicks off.
“We did not improve our lap times today, but we improved in the consistency. I was able to ride fast on old tyres, so we are good for the race distance and that has given me a lot of confidence for Qatar.
“We will try to work a little bit between here and Qatar to figure out how we can close the gap on the front guys. That is going to be important for the best lap time in qualifying.
“But I am feeling a lot more comfortable with the bike and the 600 is not feeling quite so alien now. We've still got work to do but between now and Qatar we'll analyse a lot of data and come up with a plan for the start of the season. I'm really looking forward to racing now.”
Team-mate Mike di Meglio, preparing to start his second Moto2 season, was only 30th overall.
"Although the lap times don't reflect it, this test was still positive for us,” insisted the Frenchman. “We worked a lot on the bike and I am much happier today. We spent a lot working on the set-up, particularly to help the bike use the hard tyre better, and I feel we made some steps forward.
“We have still got a lot of work to do but I know I can also improve my feeling with the bike. I want to thank my guys at Tech 3 Racing again for all their hard work and I'm sure we will be competitive at the first race in Qatar.”
The third Tech 3 Moto2 rider Xavier Simeon was 33rd overall.