Danny Kent is planning on starting his season 'from zero' at Mugello, as he attempts to find some of the confidence that has been lacking from his riding in the opening rounds of the 2016 Moto2 season.
Ten points from five races was not the start that Kent envisioned to his year as a reigning world champion. His weekend in Le Mans was one to forget, as he ended the race a distant 19th, 45 seconds behind race winner Alex Rins.
The Englishman blamed a total lack of confidence in the front end of his Leopard Kalex machine on his disappointing showing, as Dunlop's new '0' rear tyre, that was introduced in Jerez, has caused several issues with set-up.
“It was a very tough weekend [in France],” said Kent. “We've lost a lot of confidence on the front end. This is not where we want to be finishing. We need to figure out where we're going wrong, start off from zero and work in a different way so we can get closer to the front.
“Since Jerez as soon as I release the front brake and get on the gas the rear always pushes the front. I've had three crashes and each crash was exactly the same - as soon as I release the front brake. In Le Mans, especially, you're on the brakes so much and on the front end. If you don't have confidence it can be your enemy.
“No matter what we did we couldn't get that confidence back. It's almost like we have too much grip on the rear and that's affecting my drive, which is completely ruined. We need to go to Mugello and start from zero in terms of settings. It's clear that the way we're working at the moment is not working.
“For me it's a good rear tyre but it's almost too good. It has a lot of rear grip and is almost too good for the front tyre. That's almost why, when I release the front brake and get on the gas, it's pushing the front wide. You could see a lot of people in Le Mans, especially Jonas [Folger], who was complaining of the same thing.”
The 22-year old spent a frustrating weekend in France applying a raft of changes to the set-up of his Kalex machine, but found few solutions. Coping with both the differing characteristics offered by Dunlop's tyres, and the allocation, has been a tough hurdle to overcome.
“We've been doing a lot of different things,” he explained. “The problem is we have the '0' tyre and the '1' tyre. They're completely different tyres. You put the '1' tyre in and you have to set your bike up for that. Then you fit the '0' tyre and it [the setting] is completely wrong and you have to set the bike up for that. The '0' tyre is the race tyre and the problem is you only have four of each. You have to be very careful when you use them and when you put them in.
“It's difficult for us all but it's the same for everyone. And they're all coping. Everyone has the same tyre. A lot of people are faster than me so I can't make too many excuses. This is not where we want to be. I feel that I can do better. The team can do better. We need to keep pushing but we'll get there.”
Arriving in Italy, Kent is hopeful that Mugello's flowing layout will be less critical at highlighting the issues that he has encountered, and is keen to get his second year in the Moto2 class back on track.
“With the bike I have now I'm a lot more confident in the faster corners. All the slower corners is where I'm struggling. Going to Mugello could be a start. But I'm not expecting miracles. We need to work hard as a team and try to find the next step.”