Danilo Petrucci is confident that he made significant improvements to both Ducati's GP17 and his riding style that could be of real benefit for 2017, on his final day of testing at Jerez.
Due to family issues, the two-day shakedown in Andalusia was the Italian's first opportunity to sample a prototype of the GP17 that had been tested by factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso at Valencia.
While lap times were far from the principle focus, Petrucci focused on adapting his normal late-braking style, and aggressive throttle control to the bike's - and Michelin tyres' - needs.
In the end it appeared to bear fruit, as a change in bike geometry – placing the front wheel closer to the engine – eased the machine's turning issues mid-corner, a facet that Dovizioso had earmarked for improvement in the Valencia test.
“I'm happy of these two days,” began Petrucci, ninth overall at the close of testing on Thursday, with a best time of 1m 39.776s.
“I found something that I never found this year about the feeling when I'm on the bike, especially about the braking area and in acceleration. Then I worked really much on myself and my riding style.
“I used these two days, not for doing a time attack like everyone else, but for leave this year with a good feeling on the bike. This year, with my injury, I never found a very good feeling. So I'm happy for this. For sure we have to work, and especially I want to see how Lorenzo and Dovizioso can use this bike.
“Today we found something, just to put the front wheel a bit closer to the engine, and I found a very, very good feeling.
“Yesterday, sincerely, we made a mistake that I started early in the morning with the tyre, a medium one, but we thought it was a soft. So in the first part of the session yesterday, I had not a good feeling. I felt always like the ground was too cold.
“Then after two runs, we discovered that the wheel was the medium one and not the soft. This morning, we started with the soft, and I found immediately a good feeling, and this was positive. Then when I put the medium, the feeling was even better, because I can brake harder and I found a very good feeling.”
Pressed to detail the changes to riding style that could be vital to improving on his '16 championship finish of 14th, he explained, “This year I could never be so aggressive on the brakes.
“Especially this afternoon [Thursday] I found something that permitted to use the brake until the last moment, and release the brake and let the bike turn. And even the acceleration and the traction inside the corner.
“Because I have like a heavy hand, I accelerate very hard and very quick, and I brake very hard, and with my GP15 it was not possible to brake very hard, because I always lost the rear, or lost the front.
“And even when I used the acceleration inside the corner, I was always too strong on the throttle. So these two days, I work on myself, to be more smooth, to release the brake as soon as possible, and especially I found a very good feeling going into the corner without brakes.
“I always feel the front very light, but we see that the front is in contact with the ground, so I go over my sensation, and understand that the limit is over. This feeling - the front very, very light inside the corner - now it is for me quite normal.
“And I'm happy for this, because I have to gain a feeling with the Michelin that I didn't have this year.”