Eugene Laverty spent Wednesday at Jerez testing the 2016 spec Magneti Marelli electronics package for the first time as he continues to adapt to the Aspar Ducati GP14.2.
The Northern Irishman lapped the Jerez circuit 25 times in warm afternoon temperatures to “bed in” the electronics in order to get a basic understanding of the throttle connection and engine braking.
Insisting he wasn't overly pushing, Laverty's unofficial lap time was six tenths of a second slower than new team-mate Yonny Hernandez as he put the machine he tested at Valencia through its paces.
One of only three Ducati MotoGP riders circulating on Wednesday – the other being test rider Michele Pirro –, Laverty felt the new electronics initially appear to suit the Ducati machinery better than HRC machinery.
“Today was just about bedding in the bike and understanding it ahead of the next two days of testing. We spent the majority of the time getting the electronics dialed in with the settings for throttle connection, engine braking and stuff like that getting focused on.
“We did 25 laps today just to get ready for tomorrow. We didn't do anything today where we went looking for times other than two laps at the end of the day where we evaluated if the setting from Valencia would work here.
“We'll need to make some changes to that and with these tyres you need to be careful. We'll change the setting direction for tomorrow but that's normal when you come to a place that's so different to Valencia.
“It does seem that it suits our bike better. For the Ducati, the transition did seem to be pretty seamless. At Valencia, it was probably easier, because Pirro had already tested there and Redding and the guys just hopped on something that was already ready. And I guess that's what Pirro has been doing today, and what we've been doing today, so I can get a proper feel tomorrow, and have a better idea.”
Because of limited track time, Laverty was unable to give a full assessment of the Michelin rubber but said initial impressions were positive.
The former World Superbike runner-up, who scored a famous double victory for Aprilia at the Andalusian track in 2013, went on to speak of the official Ducati presence in his garage.
After enduring a year in the relative wilderness with uncompetitive 'Open' Honda machinery, in which there was little factory input, Laverty is confident that Ducati's technical guru Gigi Dall'Igna will ensure all eight Ducatis will be as competitive as possible on the 2016 MotoGP grid.
“Today we had Gigi into the box twice and it's a massive thing when you have that kind of support from the factory. We went out today just to make sure that we're ready to test from tomorrow but even though it was a set-up day there was still interest from Ducati to help us. The factory boys weren't running, so they could give us a bit more assistance.
“It's a nice way, and it's Gigi's approach. It's always been that way, before too. He always helps everybody. If you're on his bikes, then you're part of the family. He doesn't just want bikes to fill the grid, he wants his bikes to be competitive, and that makes a big difference to us as well."
Laverty is also seeing the fact that shared data between the Pramac, Avinita and Aspar squads as another positive.
“For us it was me and Nicky [in 2015], and Nicky's a great rider, but having the other guys as a reference would have been better. It's good to have more guys, and we've got the factory guys and Pramac, the other Ducati guys, we've got to try and close that gap. It was 0.7s at Valencia, which was a hell of a lot closer than what we were on the Honda in the past season. So that's something to aim for.
“We've got all the data available, which is great. And there's no secrecy, everything's there. If you ask something, they will let you see it. There's no reason for one rider not to share his data.”