Scott Redding has stated the winter of 2015/16 has comfortably been his best preseason to date after he impressed again on the first day of testing at Qatar by placing a heartening fifth.
The Englishman has completed the majority of his winter laps alone on track but was buoyed when following Maverick Viñales on used tyres at the close of Wednesday, as he sliced half a second off his fastest time with considerable distance on his rear tyre.
It has been a linear progression from his first test on Ducati's GP15 in November, where he 'hasn't got stuck in a hole', something that has been most pleasing for the 23-year old as he approaches his third season in the premier class.
“Since I've come to GPs it's been the best preseason,” said Redding on Wednesday night. “I've had a lot of fun. I enjoy riding the bike. I enjoy being with the team. We've been where we want to be; there or thereabouts. Nothing to special, not too far at the back. We've done all of it alone.
“Today I had one good hook-up with Maverick. The tyre had done 25 laps and I set my fastest lap. I know when I get that, I get half a second. I'm not the guy to follow, I make my own things. That's why this preseason has been good. I've been able to progress and not get stuck in a hole, like previously. I feel a lot more motivated and competitive.”
For the first time in '16 Redding has two bikes at his disposal. Having made some back-to-back tests with each model, the Englishman didn't make too many changes to set-up and acclimatised to some of Michelin's different compounds.
“Today was like pushing but I didn't really want to push too much and crash on the first day. The track conditions were a bit sketchy. I was trying the other front tyres and I didn't really have a good feeling.
“It was just about making laps and trying a few small things. We tried the second bike, we had to compare and the feeling was good so it was just a bit of a run down. We didn't change to many things with the bike.
One of Andrea Dovizioso's concerns over the Michelin rubber was his inability to post a fast time once he had fitted a new tyre. Redding admitted that, at times, the Michelin's can provide 'a strange situation', where a fresh compound doesn't automatically equate to better times.
“Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It's a bit of a strange situation. Sometimes I do better with the used. Sometimes we put in a new tyre and we make a big step. This evening we started with a tyre that had the same rubber on both sides.
“Then we did 27 laps and had to change the rear. We went one step harder that was harder on the left. It wasn't in a positive way. It had less grip on the left, which I had before. When I put this one on I knew it'd be even worse. Here, it's not about the lap time on the first day.”