At the close of Jorge Lorenzo's first day aboard Ducati machinery, the enthusiasm was evident on the face of factory team coordinator Davide Tardozzi, who spoke glowingly of the Majorcan's “attitude and work.”
Lorenzo was quickly up to speed at the post-race test at Valencia on Tuesday, spending virtually the entire day on the Desmosedici GP16, acclimatising to its different characteristics and marked top speed.
In the final hour of the day, the 29-year old posted the third fastest time, 0.122s slower than Maverick Viñales, who has replaced him at Yamaha. Not only was Lorenzo the fastest Ducati. His time of 1m 31.052s was 0.119s faster than his quickest lap posted on the way to victory in Sunday's race.
While Lorenzo is no contractually allowed to speak in public before the end of 2016, Tardozzi offered his first impressions of working with the rider Ducati has deemed suitable to pay twelve million Euros a year to Crash.net
“We are happy because we have a fantastic professional rider that works in a very professional way,” he said.
“His attitude and work impressed us a lot. but in the end it's not today we're not looking for times. OK, everybody in the end will do it but what is important is that we will have he deserves in Qatar.
“We are working to 'sit him' on the bike in the proper way because he doesn't feeling that he's sitting on the bike perfectly. Obviously it's the first time that he's sat on the bike. Then he would like something that we will try to have for him tomorrow, but mainly in Sepang.
“The other things we are really impressed about is his attitude and work. Slowly, slowly he comes down. Every time that he asks for something and we do what he wants he goes a bit down on time. Today is really, really positive.
“His approach, I mean, the professional way that he is talking [impressed us most]. His approach is how he manages the things with the team. We are pretty impressed with that… his attitude, and his work.”
“But in the end I think that everyone that has the change – like Iannone and Viñales – is doing a good job. Honestly I don't think this test will be enough to decide who is better, who is not better, who will be fast next year…
“[We need to] Wait! Wait! I'd like to remind you that the last winter test last year we were not always in the top five. But in Qatar we were.
On Monday, Ducati Corse's general manager Gigi Dall'Igna explained how the GP16's biggest fault lay in its ability to turn in the middle of the corner. Asked whether Lorenzo had pinpointed this issue, Tardozzi continued, “What he said is something that we were expecting.
“Honestly he suits what we thought. Everything is on the normal way. We will provide something that he asks for Sepang and we'll see.”
Lorenzo was regularly seen talking to test rider and former rival Casey Stoner in the Bologna garage. The Australian is acting as a kind of rider coach for the new arrival, spotting out on track, and detailing how other bikes are behaving.
“Casey is listening,” said Tardozzi. “He is on the race track and he reports something back to Jorge and Dovi. If Jorge requests for him to look in a corner, or a specific corner, why he is so slow or why he feels slow, then he reports something comparing it to the others.
“Then I think or I guess that he then improves something in this corner. Casey is an important rider. His feedback looking at our riders is very important.”
Tardozzi expects Lorenzo to spend most of Wednesday aboard Ducati's new machine, after the five-time world champion posted just one lap on the GP17 at the close of Tuesday.
Lorenzo's performance on Tuesday even earned the praise of rival and 2016 world champion Marc Marquez. The Honda man commented, “Lorenzo maybe is the biggest surprise. Already on the first day with the Ducati, some people said with his riding style he would not adapt, but I already was thinking that he would be fast - and he is fast.”