Marcel Schrotter put the Tech 3 team within one-second of the fastest lap time during the final pre-season Moto2 test at Jerez.
1.040s from the top during the February outing at the same Spanish circuit, Schrotter circulated +0.943s on Thursday, although the ultra-close lap times meant the German was only 16th overall.
Nevertheless, it was an encouraging performance given the 1.9s gap per lap by the best Mistral 610 rider in last year's Spanish Grand Prix qualifying and race.
Schrotter worked to establish his base set up and then undertook slight modification changes, in particular on the front section of his bike to improve brake stability and turning.
“I am quite happy with the work we have done over the past three days as we managed to test a lot of settings to make the bike more comfortable over race distance,” he said. “We focused mainly on the front section of the Mistral, trying to improve the braking and turning.
“A big positive that I can take home is that all of the fastest laps were on old tyres, which gives me confidence in race distance. I feel there is still some improvement to be made with how the bike reacts on new tyres, but this was never the main aim at this test. I am looking forward to Qatar and feel confident of fighting for top ten finishes and having a good season this year.”
Tech 3 has been rocked by the recent injury to Alex Marinelarena, during private testing at the end of February. The Spaniard has now awoken from a coma but is not yet ready to return to grand prix action and has been replaced during his recovery by Ricky Cardus.
“We miss him a lot,” said team manager Herve Poncharal. “Last time here he was very fast and very confident of improving. His condition is getting better every day and we all hope to have him back with us very soon.”
Following his last minute call-up, Cardus completed his first Tech 3 laps on Tuesday and finished the test 1.8s from the top for 26th out of the 30 riders.
“First of all, I want to say thank you to the team for the opportunity and the faith they placed in me to test their bike. Of course, it's not the way I'd like to get on the bike, and I really hope Alex recovers quickly,” said Cardus.
“In all honesty, the test went well and was a really good experience. At first, after three months of not riding, I struggled to adapt straight away. I saw how far back I was and became slightly nervous. However, with more time on the bike I improved and felt better every day.
“My fastest lap could have been quicker but unfortunately I made a mistake in it. The lap time was not the most important part of this test for me, as I needed to prepare myself as much as possible for the first race, which I am really looking forward to”.
“Ricky jumped on the bike having not ridden all winter,” added Poncharal. “His final time was the quickest lap time he has ever completed around Jerez. Ricky has ridden many other brands so it was interesting to hear his comments which will help us to improve.”