Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro will focus on adapting the single ECU software to his 2016 GSX-RR on day two of the Sepang MotoGP Test after encountering issues with the traction control system on Monday.
Espargaro was ninth fastest after a lap in 2m 02.539s and lapped more than a second quicker using the 2016 bike without the traction control aid.
The Spaniard also experienced an engine failure, although fortunately this was on his 2015 machine and his new GSX-RR with the seamless shift transmission was unscathed.
“We didn't try everything today obviously but we just used today to compare both engines with no electronics, no traction control because we still need to improve with 2016 [ECU],” he said.
“When we used the 2015 engine-spec with no electronics it was okay, and when we used the 2016 engine we saw a big improvement in power terms, but when we connected the traction control in the last run the bike started to feel bad. We know this is where we have to improve most.
“Tomorrow we will keep working all morning with the traction control because today we just did two runs and it is difficult for me to understand because it was worse. I expect to ride this bike without traction control was impossible, but it was much better than I expect,” he added.
“We will work on this with my team in the morning and in the afternoon we will try the new bike, new frame and new swing arm and keep working.”
Elaborating on the problems he faced with the traction control system, Espargaro revealed he lapped over one second faster when the aid was disconnected.
“[I was] more than one second faster on bike without traction control. But when I connect the traction control, I had more than 20 laps on the tyre, so this is also one of the reasons [why there was such a big time difference],” Espargaro said.
“Obviously without no traction control I was a little bit scared, a little bit careful in the corner, but the bike was good and the feeling with the engine was so smooth, so natural and much better than with the electronics.”
One big plus from the opening day was the improvement in engine power with the 2016 bike, which left Espargaro feeling particularly satisfied.
“The engine is more powerful everywhere and this is the important thing because it's a bigger advantage than the Barcelona engine for example, when we just gained one or two kilometres per hour,” he said.
“With this engine we have more power in the bottom and the top and it's good because they found a new line to work with and they bring the seamless [gearbox], so I'm happy and I think we are still going to improve.
“The feeling is great [with seamless gearbox] but I think we are still not using as I want because it's quite aggressive in some places, especially from one to two and from second to third [gear], so we need to work on it.
“Also, Suzuki I think will bring the new seamless transmission sooner than what we expect because now we just have [shift up]. It's good, especially on the straight because we have a much better improvement, especially in acceleration,” added Espargaro.
“With the new engine and the seamless we have a little more power and the seamless transmission helps the engine, because when you change, the RPM drops, so it's more easy for the engine to arrive at a good RPM. The engine helps, but the seamless helps a lot also, so I am happy.”
Espargaro also lauded the improvements made by Michelin since the Valencia test, which was hampered by a series of front-end crashes.
“It was a nice surprise because for me the front tyre is very different. I still miss some turning power in some places and that is something we have to work on, but the feedback information from the front tyre is much better: the example is no crashes today I think, whereas in Valencia it was a complete disaster,” he said.
“Michelin have done a great job, we still have to work a lot, but the front tyre is much better.
“When I have problems I don't want to compare with the Bridgestone because it is stupid, also with the electronics; this is a new era, new tyres and new electronics so let's try to adapt to the tyre and work on different lines and different settings. There is now way to compare.
“With the Bridgestone you use a lot of front tyre with the front brake; in the end, when you are already with the knee on the floor, you are completely blocking the front tyre, so the limit is a little bit different,” he added.
“I feel better today with the front tyre but even like this, you need to brake a little bit more straight and then use the rear tyre. It's a different character and we need to use as best we can the best things of the tyre.”