Last year's MotoGP top two, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, believe the balance of power between the manufacturers will swing significantly from race-to-race in 2016.
The premier-class is moving from Bridgestone to Michelin tyres and introducing a unified ECU software for this season, with no clear hierarchy after two of the three official pre-season tests.
While the opening outing in Sepang was dominated by Lorenzo with Yamaha team-mate Rossi best of the rest, Suzuki and Honda riders fought back at Phillip Island - including a sublime display by Maverick Vinales.
And although Ducati looks most comfortable with the unified software, their factory riders are still adjusting to the new GP16 and it has so far been GP14.2/ GP15 riders setting the Desmosedici pace.
“It looks like it's going to change a lot - the performance of the bikes, of the riders, at each track,” Lorenzo said. “Sometimes we can have advantage at some tracks, at others they will have more problems. We have to understand how we can be more competitive here so we can find the same advantage that we had in Sepang.”
While Lorenzo saw a one-second advantage on the final day in Sepang turn into a 0.6s deficit on the last day in Phillip Island, Rossi has been the most consistent of any rider - at least in terms of average ranking over the six days (see below).
“I think that the balance between the different bikes can change from one track to another,” confirmed the Italian. “For this reason it is important to test at three very different tracks before the start of the championship and it will be very important to have a bike that can adapt from track-to-track.”
The third and final official pre-season test will be held in Qatar from March 2-4, also venue for the season-opening race on March 20.
Sepang Test - Top 10: Average ranking (3 days)
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1.3 average [1st day one, 2nd day two, 1st day three]
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 3.3 [2,6,2]
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 4.0 [4,1,7]
Marc Marquez (Honda) 4.7 [7,4,3]
Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 6.3 [10,5,4]
Hector Barbera (Ducati) 6.7 [6,3,11]
Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 7.0 [5,8,8]
Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 7.0 [3,12;6]
Scott Redding (Ducati) 8.0 [8,7,9]
Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) 10.7 [11,11,10]
Phillip Island Test – Top 10: Average ranking (3 days)
Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) 1.7 average [2nd,1st,2nd]
Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 4.3 [5,5,3]
Marc Marquez (Honda) 5.0 [12,2,1]
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 5.0 [6,4,5]
Hector Barbera* (Ducati) 5.0 [NA,6,4]
Scott Redding (Ducati) 8.0 [4,9,11]
Loris Baz* (Ducati) 8.5 [NA,11,6]
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 9.3 [1,14,13]
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 9.3 [16,3,9]
Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 9.3 [7,13,8]
*Missed damp day one.
Sepang and Phillip Island Combined: Average ranking (6 days)
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 4.2 average [2nd,6th,2nd,6th,4th,5th]
Marc Marquez (Honda) 4.8 [7,4,3,12,2,1]
Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 5.3 [10,5,4,5,5,3]
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 5.3 [1,2,1,16,3,9]
Hector Barbera* (Ducati) 6.0 [6,3,11,NA,6,4]
Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) 6.2 [11,11,10,2,1,2]
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 6.7 [4,1,7,1,14,13]
Scott Redding (Ducati) 8.0 [8,7,9,4,9,11]
Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 8.3 [5,8,8,10,7,12]
Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 8.8 [3,12,6,17,8,7]
Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 11.7 [15,10,16,3,10,16]
Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 11.7 [12,15,15,7,13,8]
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 13.3 [13,14,13,18,12,10]
Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) 13.7 [9,16,12,13,15,17]
Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 13.8 [14,13,14,8,16,18]
Loris Baz* (Ducati) 14.0 [17,19,17,NA,11,6]
Tito Rabat (Honda) 16.7 [18,17,20,11,19,15]
*Missed damp day one at Phillip Island.
List does not include Aprilia, absent from Phillip Island, or the injured Jack Miller and Eugene Laverty.