Scott Redding admitted that he struggled to find the 'comfort zone' aboard his Ducati GP15 at Qatar on Thursday, but a checking of his data confirmed an issue that he is confident will be put right ahead of the second day.
A stunning second fastest here in the final preseason of the year, Redding was a somewhat more subdued tenth at the close of FP1, as a suspension setting didn't allow him to feel at his best and put too much movement on the rear.
Admitting that the 45-minute session felt as though it had passed him by, the 23-year old rode a largely unchanged set-up throughout the evening, and by the close he felt he was at its limit. His fastest lap was some nine tenths slower than early pace setter Jorge Lorenzo.
“I was doing 56.4 just because that was the limit," said Redding. "Not of me and the bike, but it was the setting we had. In the three fast corners [turns twelve – 14] I kept running wide and that was two tenths, two tenths. I could just feel the time going. The first two sectors weren't bad. I could improve a bit but I was on the edge. I wasn't in that comfort zone. When we checked the data we could see what it was so we're not panicking in any way.
“I didn't change the front [tyre]. I felt quite good with the softer one. Also, tomorrow I might have to try it [the medium] because of the track conditions. It felt a big soft. Was it suspension? Was it tyre? The session felt like f**king ten minutes! I went out, came in, went out again… I didn't really change anything.
“I had a little issue with the leather slipping on the seat. I came in for that and it was really strange, really short. I never experience that in my career before. I need to try and work out how to make it last a bit longer to be honest. It honestly felt like I had done one five lap run and then I came in again. We'll have to make it last longer.”
Thursday evening was the first time that MotoGP riders had sampled Michelin tyres after a Moto2/3 session that usually plies the asphalt with Dunlop rubber. Some had suggested this may be an issue and while Redding felt track conditions differed to the test here two weeks before, he felt the rain that fell on Wednesday could also have been a factor.
“I don't know if it was the rain or the Dunlop rubber. Those are two differences from the test. The feeling was worse but on the data it shows more grip. I think it was more the setting we had. I was relying a lot on the tyre and also on the suspension.”