Michael Laverty has only taken part in two MotoGP
tests - but both times he and the PBM team have pulled off something of an upset.
rookie produced one of the surprises of the opening Sepang test by finishing the final day second in the CRT class, while using PBM team-mate Yonny Hernandez's spare ART.
Returning this week to make his debut on PBM's own bike - featuring a bespoke aluminium chassis, Aprilia engine and the standard ECU system - Laverty missed all of day one and most of day two while the machine was assembled.
His 19 laps on day two had been little more a very public shakedown, highlighting numerous bugs in the engine management that left Laverty nearly eight seconds off the pace. When the Ulsterman then skipped the final morning it looked like technical gremlins may have ended his Malaysian hopes.
In fact, the PBM team were trawling through the track data and - with the clock ticking - held their nerve in not releasing Laverty until every major glitch had been fixed.
It paid off. During just 24 laps on the final afternoon Laverty was able to start meaningful testing with the machine, making strides up the timesheet in the process. Laverty reached 22nd out of 28 riders and was just 1.6s behind the top CRT of Randy de Puniet
(Aspar ART) by the time the circuit's red lights halted his progress at 6pm.
"I'm really happy," Laverty told Crash.net
as the PBM team packed up at Sepang on Thursday evening. "We have a brand new chassis, straight out of the box and it feels almost as good as the ART. Half a day of testing and we're almost in the ballpark.
"The team are really pumped. All credit to them. They've developed this bike from concept. A lot of new projects have come along and been way off the mark so to be almost at the pace we were at on the ART is really positive.
"There's a lot to refine but they've done a hell of a job."
Laverty then explained the transformation from Wednesday's spluttering shakedown to Thursday's charge up the timesheets.
"After getting some data with the initial laps yesterday, the guys worked all last night," said the BSB
winner who, like Gresini rookie Bryan Staring, is yet to start a grand prix in any class.