MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo sounded an early ominous warning for his premier class rivals after revealing that he feels stronger already than he did last season.
Lorenzo feels the new Michelin tyres enable him to maximise his full potential on the Movistar Yamaha M1 as the Majorcan proved his pace again on day two of the official Sepang test, albeit finishing second quickest by 0.060s behind surprise pacesetter Danilo Petrucci on the Octo Pramac Ducati in Malaysia.
“It's only two days, only Sepang – we will have to see what happens in Phillip Island, what happens in Qatar – but the conclusion we have now in two days is that I feel better than I did last year,” said Lorenzo, who lapped in 2m 00.155s.
“I don't know how much we are going to keep this feeling in the future, but for the moment I feel better with the Michelin tyres than with the Bridgestones.
“I can take profit more with my potential and also with the hard rear tyre; I was a little bit worried that with the hard rear tyre I could not keep having such a good performance, but I could see that I was similar and this is the important thing,” he added.
“To keep this time with the other riders for sure will not always be the same, but for the moment in these two days we are happy.”
Lorenzo highlighted one of the key advantages of the Michelin rear as its performance under hard acceleration, with a reduction in tyre spin on the exit of corners.
“You cannot keep the same lean angle, you have to be more a little more straight in the middle of the corner and you have to brake a little bit before, but for the opposite in acceleration in a straight line you don't have the spinning,” he said.
“The Bridgestone tyre was very hard and this one is much more softer than the other ones. The lap time is a very good strong point. Obviously we still have some margin because finally the setting that we are using is very close to last year's setting and I don't think this setting is the perfect setting for these tyres and electronics.
“For this tyre, I think we have a big margin for improvement in the future, but for the moment with this tyre, the setting, electronics and my style, compared to the other riders we are very good; this is what counts,” Lorenzo added.
“I don't know what they have, the margin the other riders, but the margin I have, we will discover in the future. Now, in these two days, the feelings are very, very good.”
Lorenzo and team-mate Valentino Rossi are testing two 2016 M1s at Sepang – one that seems to be a hybrid 2015-2016 bike plus a more radical version – with the Spaniard describing his feeling with each as 'very similar'.
The three-time MotoGP champion is taking a course of antibiotics for a throat infection and hopes to be feeling fit enough to undertake a race simulation on Wednesday.
“Today was the third day of antibiotics, I slept eight hours this time. I was tired but I felt a little bit better,” said Lorenzo.
“We hope that tomorrow with the antibiotics I will be better and we can try to do a simulation.”
Tuesday's test was delayed for more than hour after a terrifying 180mph crash for Loris Baz on the main straight. The Frenchman walked away from the incident and while the cause of the accident is under investigation, Michelin withdrew the soft spec of rear tyre he was using as a precaution..