Marc Marquez spent his first day testing at Jerez working his way through a sizeable workload as he tested Honda's 2016 engine, the new Magneti Marelli electronics package and Michelin tyres.
While Marquez felt he is still some way off the ideal setting with the electronics and engine, he explained how the feeling of the Michelin rubber differed from that of Valencia.
At Jerez, the rear tyre didn't offer as much grip and while its grip levels dropped in much the same way Bridgestone's did, Marquez found the Michelin front failed to provide the same consistency, a problem that was coupled by the difficulty finding its limit.
Still, of the MotoGP riders that released unofficial times, Marquez was just under two tenths of a second faster than team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
“Now every day is an interesting day,” smiled the four-time world champion. “We have to try so many things each day and today we started with our 2015 electronics so that we could use them as a reference point and then we started to work on the Magneti Marelli.
“The Michelin tyres are also a big compromise for us to understand at this point and to allow us to ride on the limit. We did a few laps to try and understand all these things but we also had the new engine to try too. It has a new character and the feeling is similar to Valencia. We need to do more laps to fix the electronics because they are still far away from what we need.
“The tyres were a little bit different today. It was more or less like Valencia and on the braking point there isn't a problem but on the edge grip there was a lot of closing feelings from the front and here in Jerez there are a lot of fast corners so it's difficult to understand the limit. In Valencia the rear grip was amazing. here it was OK but not the same as Valencia. We're working to try and understand the front.
“Today we only used one tyre but tomorrow we'll use another tyre compound too. We did a few laps as a race simulation and the rear tyre dropped in a similar way to the Bridgestone but the difference with Michelin was that the front tyre dropped too. With the Bridgestone's you could use a 20 lap old front tyre with a new rear and it would work ok but with the Michelins the front and rear both dropped.”
On a day that was interrupted by pit stops that were necessary to tune and correct the software settings, Marquez explained how the biggest difference came when opening the throttle mid-corner.
“The electronics are still up and down for us but we're working on them. At Valencia they were definitely further away from what we need and here they are closer but you still feel that it's a step behind. You have to work hard to make sure that it is closer to the Honda software but it's going to be impossible to be the same as that software.
“We're working to understand this and how the traction control and engine braking works. It takes time to understand these changes because, like in Valencia, you go out for a few laps and then come back to the box to spend 30 minutes looking at the data to help the mapping. It takes time to understand the electronics.
“The biggest difference at the moment is when you're on the gas. From mid-corner when you open the gas, through the corner exit and then when you're on the straight is where you feel the difference with the new electronics.
“Engine braking is more or less ok and working well but we need to spend our time understanding them when we get on the gas. This is where the time is coming because when you lose time on the acceleration it's very hard to make a fast lap time.”