Scott Redding oozed enthusiasm as the British rider had his first experience of the Pramac Ducati using the new Michelin tyres and 2016 ECU system during the opening day of the official MotoGP test at Valencia.
Redding, who joins the team after two seasons in the premier class with Gresini and Marc VDS Racing, set the 11th fastest time on the GP15 ahead of Yamaha's Valentino Rossi with a best lap in 1m 32.214s.
“The team is great, already I feel very welcome and with the bike, I'm happy. In my first laps I was already at a similar level to before,” said Redding, who time was two tenths faster than he managed on the Honda during qualifying on Saturday.
“It was a good step, I already find it easy to ride and find the lines. Even with the Michelin tyres I felt OK, we had a small crash in the afternoon because we pushed a lot with the soft tyre but tomorrow we have some space to improve.
“There's more power but you can use it, early on the gas; on the straights the bike is more level and not making a big wheelie and for me this was a big advantage – not to fight all the time with the bike, you can find a line where you want to go. That for me is nice to have in your pocket.”
Redding was upbeat over his feeling with the Michelin tyres and rode the Ducati only with the new ECU to create a more realistic impression of what can expect in 2016.
“I feel quite good on the Michelins. The rear is OK, I tried the hard but it wasn't great at this circuit and with the front I only tried the soft, which was a bit too soft but tomorrow we'll try the hard,” Redding said.
“I couldn't get the temperature in to the harder rear, the front tyre isn't bad but you have to change your riding style as you can't attack the corners as hard as you could on the Bridgestone.
“A couple of times today the front started to close on me when I loaded too much, same speed, same angle and brake release, but just half a metre later on the gas and then I overload it. You couldn't do that with the Bridgestone but you can on the soft Michelin.
“The software didn't feel too bad. I felt okay straight away. They said the anti-wheelie wasn't too good but I felt okay with it. For me it was good to start with next year's software,” added the 22-year-old.
“We thought it was a better idea to start with the new electronics rather than giving me something better than I might have when it comes to next year.”
Redding feels he has much more to come in terms of a fast lap speed after making some mistakes as he set his his best time on Tuesday.
“We had more in our pocket, even when I made my fastest lap time we made quite a few mistakes as with the softer front tyre we couldn't really turn the bike in, so I was surprised that the lap time was two tenths faster than I did in qualifying with the Honda and it came quite easy,” he said.
“I did the same time with used tyres and in the afternoon again I was faster and made the same time again, so pushed a bit more and that's when I had the crash.
“The traction control works really well for coming out of corners, the tyres also help but you can also control it with your hand a lot more than you can on the Honda. Everything was easier, I could make laps, feel quite comfortable and look to improve,” Redding added.
The young Briton clearly feels right at home in the Pramac set-up and is relishing the chance to work with Ducati after testing for the Italian manufacturer back in 2012 at Mugello.
“Overall the feeling is really good, I feel like I've been in the team a year already! The plan is to have a lot of support from Ducati,” he said.
“Whether it's in Pramac or factory, Ducati want the bikes to be at the front and you feel that help and that helps me as a rider that they want to help me win.
“It's completely different to the bike I tested in 2012 – also with the tyres, but the bike, even in position is quite a lot different. That was the biggest thing for me to learn from the Honda too. The power is unbelievable. Everyone calls this bike a beast but it's actually quite nice.
“The electronics are a step back from the factory stuff I've been using this year but it feels really good, I can't complain.
“It suits my riding style so much. It's a big change in the right direction, it's not like I need this, this or this,” said Redding.
“The tank is feeling good, the position I'm in; in the straight I don't have to move so much and that for me is the main thing, there are nearly four or five things that I can forget and that means we can focus on the bike, the entry and actually think about riding for once and not just making a lap.”