Loris Baz finished a difficult year by being ranked second fastest of the MotoGP riders present on Thursday at the private Jerez test.
Riding alongside the other satellite Ducati teams - plus Aprilia, Suzuki, KTM, Honda's Jack Miller as well as the leading WorldSBK teams - Baz clocked a best lap of 1m 39.184s on the GP15 machine he will race next season.
That put the Frenchman fourth on the overall timesheets, but second of the MotoGP riders behind Aspar's Alvaro Bautista on a day when Jonathan Rea set the pace for the Kawasaki WorldSBK team.
“I am very happy because I have not had such good feelings with the bike for a long time," Baz said. "I think we have done two very good days of work, little by little I am getting confidence with the bike and this test has been very positive. We have tried a lot of things and we have a really fast pace, and today I did a very fast lap, although it could be better.
"But I'm happy because enjoyed riding my bike, now I can push hard with confidence and I understand what the bike and the tyres do. It has been a very positive test and I go with a relaxed brain to the winter break, because it has been a very difficult year, with a lot of doubts, so ending like this is fantastic.”
It was a less successful day on the other side of the Avintia garage, where Wednesday leader Hector Barbera dropped to sixth on the timesheets after mechanical issues.
“I finished the last test of the year with a bittersweet taste," Barbera said. "On the one hand, we could confirm the great potential of this bike and we have also tried several new Michelin front tyres that I really liked. But I am not happy enough, because in Valencia we had an issue with the gear box, and here it happened again.
"I was forced to stop at 3pm and I have not been able to do many laps today; I've spent all morning testing tyres, and when it was time to put fresh rubber for the time attack we had this problem. I wont have the second bike until the first test next year, and therefore, we were forced to finish the test ahead of schedule.
"I hope that in Malaysia everything works properly, because in the two races I did with the Ducati Team we did not have any issues, but we have had them in the last two test. I trust Ducati and I'm sure they will help us to get the full potential of my GP16."