The opening 2016 MotoGP test went like a dream for reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo, who left Sepang one-second clear of the field.
The Spaniard, preparing to fight for a fourth premier-class crown, was 1.033s quicker than team-mate Valentino Rossi on day one, by far the quickest on the hard rear tyre on day two, then smashed the two-minute barrier on his way to a 0.976s advantage over Rossi on day three.
“Maybe in a dream, you can imagine that you can end with a one-second advantage and 1.3s to the third rider [Marquez] and today it was possible,” Lorenzo said.
“It was a combination of things. I think Yamaha has probably a very complete bike that with the Bridgestone we couldn't take profit of the potential and now with the Michelin tyres we can take.
“But obviously the competition doesn't sleep. A lot of Ducati riders are very fast and the Honda will arrive. So today we can say that we cannot start any better, but it's obvious it's only one track. We have to go to Phillip island and Qatar before the first race.
“So it's better to have your feet on the ground and from my experience everything can change so quickly in the motorcycle world. One day you are so strong and the next you are having some problems.”
But the Spaniard admitted that one-second is an unusually large gap.
“At this track, yes. Now the question is what will happen in Phillip island and Qatar. But for Sepang, if the race was tomorrow, we would be the strongest.”
Lorenzo's smooth riding style seems to be gelling exceptionally well with the Michelins, a theory he cautiously agreed with: “Still I don't want to say after just one test, but I think yes.”
The #99's best lap could also have been even quicker:
“You will not believe, but the last run I made a '59.5 and the next one was just a small difference sower. It means that I didn't make the perfect lap. Obviously I would not improve half-a-second or six tenths, but I think if could make the perfect lap I could have made one or two tenths. And if everyone could have the soft rear tyre [withdrawn after Loris Baz's accident] we would all be half a second faster.
“Today the two official Yamahas are ahead. Especially me, but also if you compare Valentino's lap time and pace with Marc and the Hondas or the Ducatis, it is more huge than normal.
“But things can change at another track and for sure they will improve. They will arrive. Maybe they will need more time than us to understand how to make their bikes better, but I'm sure they will arrive.”
The Phillip Island test takes place from February 17-19.