Scott Redding went into the enforced winter break in the best possible way by setting the fastest MotoGP time on the final day of testing at Jerez.
While focusing on adapting his riding style and altering the weight position on the bike, Redding posted a fastest time of 1m 38.9s before setting a succession of laps in the mid-high 1m 39s.
What's more, Redding spoke of finding the limit of the front Michelin tyre, as it provided advance warning when he was pushing hard in corner entry, describing the feeling as though “the bike was talking to me”, something few riders have claimed to do.
“Today was good,” started the 22-year old. “We improved the lap time by quite a big step. I feel quite good with the bike. With the tyres I'm getting a better feeling. We tried a few things with weight position, which helped. Some of it didn't. In the end we found a good combination. I changed a bit my riding style to suit the set-up.
“In general it was a good two days of testing. We didn't do loads of laps but there were a lot of strong laps. We were getting good information while trying the new tyres. To go away with good confidence, unlike last year, gives me a good boost ahead of Christmas before preparing for next season. I look forward to going to Malaysia and seeing how it looks in hotter conditions.
“Loading the front is something I'm struggling with but the good thing for me is that I feel comfortable. I feel comfortable on the bike. I know what's going to happen. Today I nearly crashed at the last corner because I tried to force the front a bit but it didn't want to.
“The bike was talking to me. When you have a good feeling like this you also have a bit of confidence. You know what's going to happen. It was the same in Valencia. When I crashed I knew what I did. I was trying to force a bit, finding the limit, and I knew when it was going to go. I have to say I'm happy.”
What pleased the Englishman most was his ability to produce a time when he pushed for a fast lap, something he was repeatedly unable to achieve on the 2015 Marc VDS Honda.
One of Redding's main complaints of the Honda was he continually felt as though he was over-riding it, pushing it to its limits only to find the lap time wasn't forthcoming. On Friday he explained how the Ducati GP15's behaviour is more predictable.
“I did a 1m 38.9s today. It was quite a good time. I don't know what the other guys did but to make a step like that from yesterday, I'm quite happy. It wasn't on the limit but more than yesterday. The guys dropped the times so I thought that I'd go a little bit for it. But even then it wasn't perfect. I still went a little deep here, that's where I lost the front in the final corner and lost one tenth there.
“When I put in the new tyre I can go faster. Last year it wasn't possible. New tyre, old tyre. Big tyre. Square tyre…no difference. Now if I put in a new tyre I know that if I make it right I can do a good lap time. In the evening the track temperature came down and we were still faster than yesterday's time. And consistently fast, doing three, four or five laps in a row, doing mid-high 1m 39s.
“[With electronics] I changed a few more things to give me a bit more power delivery. I was changing a bit in spin. The only thing I was struggling with was a bit of pumping on the back straight. I have no control for that. In general it's still good. I still feel confident and consistent.”