Valentino Rossi banished his bad early impression by being consistent quick during day two of the Phillip Island MotoGP test.
The Movistar Yamaha rider had been sixth quickest in Wednesday's mixed conditions, but stepped it up during a mostly dry Thursday, where he finished fourth overall and just 0.273s from surprise leader Maverick Vinales (Suzuki).
“Yesterday I did just 7-8 laps, but the first impression was bad and I was a bit worried,” Rossi said. “But today, with good conditions, already from this morning I was able to go fast and have a good feeling.
“It is different to ride [with Michelins], but at the same time I like it. It is very funny. This is important.
“It was a good day from beginning to end. I always stayed [near the top]. At the end I am fourth, but the distance from first position is very close and also I didn't put new tyres at the end. We will see tomorrow if we can improve. Also the good thing is that we always made progress, step-by-step. We improved quite a lot.”
Speaking further about the new French rubber, Rossi admitted the fundamental difference in front-rear grip balance relative to the Bridgestones remains. But he added that they are all impressed at going so fast at such an early stage with the Michelins, The Doctor all but matching his best race lap from October's GP.
“For me the front is still a little bit worse compared to Bridgestone but the rear is better. So on balance it is very similar. We are already on the lap time of race, so I think this is something that nobody expected. Sincerely. Especially the guys in the teams and also riders, but we are already at a good level.”
However, some quality control issues have emerged at Phillip Island in the form of a lack of consistency with some tyres, including a lack of roundness.
“Yes, yesterday. Today no,” Rossi replied, when asked if he had experienced such issues. “Under this point of view the Bridgestone was very good because you can try 100 tyres and 99 or 100 were the same. Yesterday some people had problems, but we have so see. I think the quality of the Michelin is also the same. For me there was no problem at Valencia and Sepang, just here.”
Like many riders, Rossi - who finished the day just 0.047s behind team-mate and reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo - plans to complete his first long run on Michelin tyres on Friday.
Both factory Yamaha riders will also need to try and make a clear decision on which of the two 2016 chassis they prefer after this test.