Jorge Lorenzo was one of the few riders to put in a longer, race-simulation run with the new 1000cc machines during this week's Sepang MotoGP test - and was surprised by the findings.
“It's been really tough physically, making the race simulation on the last day. But it was very important to see what happened,” began Lorenzo, speaking from the Factory Yamaha pits.
“I saw that this year it will be really, really hard to keep a constant pace during the race. So the rider that can keep the tyres strong to the end of the race will have a strong season.
“After three or four laps the rear tyre grip drops, and then it continues to drop steadily after that.
“I found the front tyre very soft so I also had some problems with braking. But anyway I could still keep a fairly constant pace and I'm quite satisfied. Now we will go through the data for everything.”
Yamaha's 2010 world champion finished the final Malaysian test fourth on the timesheets, behind Casey Stoner (Honda), Dani Pedrosa (Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha), but his main focus remains on race pace.
“This test was better than the first Sepang test, but we need to improve the race pace because the front is not perfect under braking, the rear grip drops too much and in general we must work on the acceleration,” he said. “We have some movement from the bike we want to solve.
“If we can improve the race pace by two or three tenths that would be perfect.”
The Spaniard, second to Stoner last season despite missing the final two races due to a finger injury, now has the major components of his 2012 M1 in place.
“The new chassis is not better, so we went back to the standard one, with the new engine and new electronics,” stated Lorenzo.
Like team-mate Ben Spies, Lorenzo suffered a fall midway through the final day.
“We are not sure, Bridgestone has to see, but I think that the rear tyre was a little worse than normal,” said Lorenzo. “It was a new tyre.”
While awaiting further technical developments for his M1 to try at the third and final pre-season test, at Jerez, Lorenzo will also work on more low-tech solutions.
“Now I need to train very hard to be more prepared physically,” he said.
The Jerez test takes place from March 23-25.
Lorenzo's Sepang race simulation:
Official Sepang MotoGP lap records:
ITA Yamaha 2m 0.518s
Fastest race lap:
AUS Ducati 2m 2.108s