MotoGP rookie Bryan Staring may have finished at the bottom of the timesheets during his Honda Gresini CRT debut, but felt it had been a positive first contact.
The former Australian champion and FIM STK1000 frontrunner improved his lap time as the test went on, his biggest step being a one-second gain on the final day.
Staring finished 5.870s behind the full Honda prototype of Dani Pedrosa, 3.342s from the leading CRT of Aleix Espargaro and 0.057s from nearest rival Colin Edwards, who struggled with neck pain.
“The first ride was daunting and I had butterflies in my stomach the night before,” admitted Staring. “A new circuit, new bike, new tyres, new team [and all] in the top category of motorcycle racing. It was a big task to step up to but I was quietly confident.
“The first thing I noticed is how well I fit the bike. There is more room than a Superbike and I can tuck in with my knees behind my elbows and get out of the airstream.
“The second thing is the riding style required. The bike has a very stiff chassis and requires very fast corner speed. I had to go back to my 125GP experience.
“The next thing is the incredible lean angle, 57 degrees. There is a huge amount of edge grip on the Bridgestone tyres. The electronics are incredible and braking can be left much deeper than a Superbike. Acceleration is very strong.
“Overall, the bike feels like a real race bike, as it is one. By the end of the [test] I felt very confident on the bike and I am looking forward to the next test.
“My team is fantastic. All of them are the best at their jobs and they were very supportive and patient. We tested a lot of important parts over the three days and made extremely good progress, crucial for a successful start to the season. I could not be happier”.
Michele Pirro, who rode the Gresini CRT last year, has switched to the role of Ducati test rider.