Cal Crutchlow was an impressive fifth fastest during day two of the Sepang MotoGP test - despite still using his 2015 machine, spending almost all of his time doing ECU work for Honda and having used only the hard rear tyre.
“I just pushed when I needed to push and in all honestly I made so many mistakes on that lap,” said Crutchlow, who was 0.8s from Tuesday pace setter Danilo Petrucci but only a fraction slower than top Honda of factory star Marc Marquez.
“I put a new hard tyre at the end and decided to push a little. We know the softer one is a lot better and we never used it this morning [due to the Baz accident]. We have too many issues to worry about lap times and stuff like that.
“At the moment I'm taking no risks. I'm quite comfortable with where we are at, doing things with the electronics, and when we need to do a lap time it seems we are able to.”
It's no secret that Honda is struggling to adapt its RCV to the new single ECU software, while also seeking to calm last year's aggressive engine character. For Crutchlow it is clear that all the manufacturers are playing catch-up to Ducati as far as the new electronics.
“The [new electronics] are just not working with the Honda at the moment. We need to do the things we are doing and test stuff for Honda that they don't have time to do,” he explained. “It's not an easy process. We tested a front tyre that Michelin wanted Honda to test and they gave it to me because they've got their own test programme going on.
“It's clear to see that Honda are on the back foot at the moment but we know how much they are working. It's not a lack of effort or knowledge.
“[The electronics] are just not doing what they are doing for Ducati… [Ducati] know what they are doing with it. They've known for the last two or three years. Everyone else has started after them. This is how clever they are. They have it down to a 'T' and definitely have the biggest advantage as regards to winning races. They are so far ahead.
“I think Yamaha obviously have a great package and great riders. They have a package that is really neutral and can be fast whatever happens, but they are not near Ducati with the electronics.
“If a Ducati doesn't win in Qatar I will be so, so surprised. Honestly. They've got some good riders, they are riding well and have done a good job in regards to the rules. We need to make our bike towards them a little bit.
“I'm not panicking at the moment. We have what we have and I'm enjoying being back on the bike.”
Crutchlow expects to receive some 2016 parts possibility for the next test at Phillip Island, and certainly for the final test in Qatar.