Scott Redding was encouraged by the feelings aboard the Pramac Racing Ducati at Jerez as he continued his adaption to Michelin tyres and the GP15 machine.
As was the case in Valencia, Redding had just one bike at his disposal but was fast from the off, quickly posting an early lap of 1m 40.8s before setting an unofficial time of 1m 39.7s, just over a tenth slower than Marc Marquez.
While complimenting the Magneti Marelli electronics package, Redding also felt the power in the lower revs is more manageable to the Honda he rode throughout 2015, with aggressive power delivery on corner exit less of an issue.
Added to that, Redding is beginning to feel accustomed to the feel offered by the Michelin front tyre after putting it under more stress than he had at the post-race test in Valencia two weeks ago.
“It went good," said the 22-year old. "The feeling was good with the bike, especially coming back from Valencia, not going straight from a Honda to a Ducati. Actually having some time off to go onto that bike was quite good. Always at Valencia I felt, not uncomfortable but different. So I felt good straight out of the box, even in my first run I did a 1'40.8s, so to have the feeling there already was quite good.
“We tried a few things with the bike, and it was a little bit better. We were trying more with the weight distribution, more rear, more front, a bit higher, and I just managed to gain more traction during the day, but I just lost a little bit in braking stability. So we are trying to find a combination to get the best of both for tomorrow.
“I'm starting to get more confidence with the front, starting to load a bit more the front. The rear's still not bad. Not a big difference between the hard and the soft rear. Just the main thing is a little bit light feeling on the front in fast corners. And in hard braking I was having some skidding today.
“But it's just trying to find the feel, because there's not a lot of feel with the tires. It just sort of squashes, holds, and then you don't know what's going to happen. So I was playing with lean angle, and just little things.”
On Wednesday Marquez explained how the Michelin front tyre suffered from greater wear and tear to the Bridgestone tyre. While the Japanese rear tyre went off, the front remained consistent through the majority of the race.
Redding elaborated, “That's the problem with it. It drops, not quick, but it drops like a rear tire, whereas the Bridgestone front, the last two or three laps of the race, maybe it will drop. But this one is definitely dropping more like a rear tire, consistently getting worse and worse.
“In Valencia we set up the bike and change something, then the tires dropped, then we put the new one in, and we're like, fuck, where do we have to go? So today, it was just letting it be and trying to ride the bike as it is, and just trying to maintain the same lap time without changing the bike. OK, putting in a new tire, OK, we see the improvement.
“But it will be interesting to see the first few races or when people make race runs, how the lap times are, because I feel that with a new tire, first two laps not that great, third lap, optimum lap time, fourth lap, optimum lap time. Then I start to feel a bit of a drop. Then if I go in and come back out again, first two laps it's OK, but then I start to get a drop, then it comes back, so it'll be interesting to see in a race with full fuel what actually happens.”
On the GP15 engine, Redding echoed his comments from Valencia, when he stated how the power “is more manageable of the bottom.”
“It's so easy compared [to the Honda RC213V]. Even today, we're trying to put the weight on the rear, and the other guys complained about wheelies, and I was like, OK, this is still not really a wheelie. OK, it's coming closer, but it's still not wheelie. And I feel good, the power is really manageable off the bottom.
“It's almost too lazy, we have some things to try with engine management to make it a bit more aggressive for me, which I think we'll try tomorrow, but it's just so easy and predictable, especially here. At Valencia, it was a bit more rough, but now, because it's bit bigger circuit, everything is good. I can't say anything negative, it's more noisy, and things are happening and stuff, but actual throttle connection and feel is great.”