Andrea Dovizioso admitted he was impressed by the speed with which Jorge Lorenzo found the Ducati's limits on his first two days aboard the machine, but believes the Majorcan's speed aboard the Bologna bike came as no surprise.
Having fought it out with Lorenzo for 125cc and 250cc titles on their way to MotoGP, Dovizioso is all-too-aware of the 29-year-old's qualities, and expected the three-time premier class champion to be quickly up to speed.
“I think he went quite fast to the limit of the bike,” said the Italian. “I think his lap time is really good. For sure this track is one of his favourites so it helped him to approach the new bike. Today when everyone improved the lap time for him it was more difficult.
“But I think it's normal. Still we have some limit of the bike and he doesn't know the bike like I do. I've been here four years and have followed all of the developments with the bike.
“About the speed I'm not surprised because I know how fast he is. But for sure he did a good lap time. For the race, I don't know if he can keep the pace. But now we have nine days of testing and everything can change.
“Apart from that, I think it was important to have his feedback. He will push in the same way as me because I think we have the same feedback. The biggest limit of the bike I think is the same for every Ducati rider but Gigi [Dall'Igna] and all the engineers are focused on that.
“I think, like I say before, Jorge coming here is positive. It can help me to fix the problem.”
After close to a full day on Ducati's 2017 MotoGP machine, Dovizioso felt small gains had been made in most departments, aside from machine's ability to turn mid-corner.
It was this area, outlined by project leader Gigi Dall'Igna on Monday as the area in need of most improving, which Dovizioso feels Ducati's engineers must focus on curing during the winter months.
“I just tried the '16 today at the end to confirm everything,” he said on Wednesday evening. “We did some other tests today with the chassis to confirm something we wanted to try.
“I'm happy with that because we don't have the test in Jerez. I think we have to be happy about the speed we have. Sure we have to improve something for the race. The turning is something we have to improve.
“The bike is more comfortable everywhere. We also tried something from Ohlins that was interesting. It's a smooth step everywhere and we also confirm the speed.
Asked whether the machine was less physical to ride, he added, “Not really. Still that point is something we have to improve.
“That point, I think, is related to the turning. By more comfortable, I mean some vibration [is less] and the way I have to make the lap time is easier. Still the turning is something we'd like to improve. I think it'll be the key to be easier to keep the lap time in the race.”
Dovizioso and Lorenzo will not be on track again with the Desmosedici until January's official Sepang test.