Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro was in high spirits after making a 'constructive' start to the new 2016 MotoGP campaign as the Sepang Test got under way in Malaysia.
Espargaro finished day one in 12th position on the satellite M1 with a lap in 2m 02.646s, which left him 1.962 seconds adrift of Jorge Lorenzo on the factory Movistar Yamaha, who was a second clear of nearest challenger and team-mate Valentino Rossi.
The Spaniard was satisfied with the new combination of the spec ECU and Michelin tyres, which he was testing together for the first time, and is 'convinced' of the potential to slash the deficit to the factory Yamaha men at the top of the times over the next two days at Sepang.
“It has been a constructive start to the year. When looking at the time sheet it's easy to see that we did not achieve anything special, but I can't hide that my feelings are positive,” said Espargaro.
“We were able to try the new electronics for the first time and I am glad to say that it's much better than we expected after what we heard from other people. Of course, we are quite far behind the other manufacturers and also Yamaha Factory, but I'm convinced that there is a huge margin of improvement to make, which we can do and the most important thing is that I like how I now have to ride the bike.
“It goes without saying that it will take us some time to make up the ground and also because we have less engineers than a factory team, but I'm confident that the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team will do a good job,” he added.
“Also the new Michelin front tyres were a positive aspect of the day and you can really feel that they worked a lot on them.”
Following a raft of front-end spills during the post-race test at Valencia in November, Espargaro said there were no such issues with the Michelin front at Sepang, which he said was 'absolutely safe'.
“We had several front compounds today which all performed well and were absolutely safe. Beside the encouraging technical news, I'm also very pleased that my physical condition seems to be very strong, because even though we rode quite a lot of laps, I do not feel particularly tired,” said Espargaro.
“Of course, there are some muscles which we haven't used since Valencia and for sure the hardest moments are yet to come, with getting up tomorrow morning being crucial, but already, I can't wait to get back on my Yamaha.
“Today flew by and we still have a lot of things to test, so we'll be ready as soon as the light turns green in the morning.”