Although absent from the time sheets on Wednesday and just twelfth fastest on Thursday, Andrea Dovizioso felt he had made a 'huge step' in coming to terms with Michelin's new control tyres on the second day of testing in Australia.
A rider whose late-braking nature wash't immediately suited to the French rubber that excels when offering grip at maximum lean angle, Dovizioso has spent the winter attempting to understand the necessary style changes to go faster.
While testing new parts and a different chassis around Phillip Island, the Italian clocked up a whopping 88 laps on Thursday and later stated that he feels the base setting for the first race in Qatar is “almost fixed”.
“It was a very important day and I'm very happy,” said Dovizioso, who set his best time on a used tyre. “We got some important data. In Malaysia we couldn't make too many laps and yesterday we didn't ride. I'm very happy because in the last few years we struggle a lot.
“The feeling with the new tyre is really good here. Where I struggled a lot with the Bridgestones I am quite strong with the Michelins. Especially I was very consistent. Today we tried both bikes and we have to decide our base for Qatar.
“Still we didn't have time to work on the small details but I was consistent so just we struggle a little bit with the tyre. Some rear tyres were good, some not. We couldn't compare some set-ups. I'm very happy because the point is to improve the feeling with the tyres and my feeling is much better than Malaysia.
“Michelin has better grip on maximum angle in both [front and rear], especially the rear. It gives me the possibility to turn the bike easier. It was the point where, especially in this track, I lose before. I'm really happy about that. I start to really understand the tyres and my feeling was good.
“I was able to go where I wanted and was consistent. I was able to do with the used tyre 1m 30.1. This is really good. The two factory Yamahas, Marc and Viñales are a little bit faster but after the test we did in Malaysia, where we couldn't test too much, and after yesterday I'm really happy about today.”
The 29-year old went on to state that amid his testing of new parts on the second day of the second test, he realised that getting up to speed with the new rubber was not so much of an issue. It was when attempting to extract the final tenths that he felt he didn't “have control 100 percent”.
Still, the Italian was visibly buoyed by his consistent showing. “Today we didn't compare the '15 and '16 because it was fixed in Malaysia,” he continued. “We tried a different chassis but close to the GP16. We decide that it's almost fixed the bike we will use in Qatar.
“About that I'm quite happy about that and to improve the feeling with the tyre because it's quite easy to go fast. But when you try to go a little bit faster I still don't have the control 100 percent. The step I did today is huge so I'm really confident about that.”