Reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo may only have got two hours sleep last night but he could barely have hoped for a better start to 2016 testing.
The Movistar Yamaha rider finished day one at Sepang in Malaysia one-second clear of the field, led by team-mate Valentino Rossi, Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Pramac Ducati's Danilo Petrucci.
Lorenzo's lap time of 2m 0.684s, set with the new Michelin tyres and single ECU, effectively matched his (Bridgestone and factory ECU) race lap record in October's grand prix.
However he was still was some way off Pedrosa's 1m 59.0s pole time and Marquez's unofficial testing record of 1m 58.867s.
“Well I think the potential for everyone is still very far because we are almost two seconds from the track record,” confirmed Lorenzo, speaking in the paddock on Monday evening.
“But we have new electronics, that in theory will never arrive at the level of the previous one, and different tyres that makes you change your riding style. You cannot take the same lean angle and you have to brake a little bit before. So it is difficult to make the same lap time as last year.
“Compared to the other riders is the interesting thing though, because we are fighting against the other riders, and today we couldn't start in a better way. From the beginning I saw that, even not pushing so much, the lap times were coming easy.
“It's not always you have this kind of opportunity, to go so quick compared to the other riders, and today we have this opportunity. So I take profit of it and I go very fast. I think the Michelin tyres could be a good thing for me in the future, from what I felt today.”
Lorenzo agreed that his naturally smooth riding style seems to suit the new Michelin tyres better than some of his rivals.
“I think the fastest riders will be the fastest riders, sooner or later. Marquez, Pedrosa, Valentino and myself we will be there. But for the moment it looks like for Dani or myself it is better for our riding style. It looks like the riders that brake later and harder have more problems. But after one day we can't make conclusions.”
Lorenzo and Rossi have two different 2016 M1s to try, the Spaniard spending most of the day on what seems to be a hybrid 2015-2016 bike, having found the all-new version too radical at this stage.
“Yes, the last exit,” he replied, when asked if he had tried the latest version. “We still have to modify something to make it more similar to the other bike. Because for the moment it has changed so much. We had not only the chassis but some other parts that were different. So for the moment the feeling was better with the first bike.
“Tomorrow I'll try and get both bikes working, not such a huge difference, and try to sleep more because today I only slept two hours with the jet lag. The first two days here I was ok and then… So after 22 hours awake for sure I'm tired.
“I also have a sore throat so I'm taking antibiotics. My physical condition is not perfect, but to ride two or three laps, I can do that very well. If I was fitter I could do longer stints.”
Also on track tomorrow will be Lorenzo's former rival Casey Stoner, who will be starting his second day of testing for Ducati after a debut on Saturday.
“I think he can be in the top three,” Lorenzo declared. “He always liked Sepang and he has had the same days on track as us, so he can be very fast..”