Dani Pedrosa is hopeful that close friend Sete Gibernau can assist him as a rider coach throughout 2017 in its entirety, as he feels his fellow Catalan is “a good help” with on-track interpretations.
Gibernau was present at Sepang on Monday, and it appears he will assess Pedrosa and his rivals from trackside to assist in understanding and interpreting how and where the bike needs to be improved.
The move to enlist Gibernau comes after Pedrosa began working with new crew chief Giacomo Guidotti at the tail end of last year in a bid to revive his 2016 performances, which had largely been disappointing.
“We have spoken,” said Pedrosa. “He's a long time friend. He came here last year and again now. How he can help? Obviously his experience as a rider, in between me and on the bike, it's easy to explain.
“He is also easy to see and interpret what is happening on track. It's easier to translate to the mechanics. You don't always have someone around that can see all these details and transfer them to the team. This is an important part.
“Obviously I don't know if he can come all the year. I hope yes because he's a good help but we don't know.”
Having missed the Grand Prix at the newly resurfaced and partially redesigned Sepang in 2016 through injury, Pedrosa spent the day readjusting to the Honda and re-learning parts of the track.
The 31-year old was 13th fastest as the rain started to fall on Monday afternoon, his best time clocking in at 2m 0.970s - 1.29s off Casey Stoner's fastest pace.
Speaking that evening, Pedrosa revealed he had been testing two engine specifications back-to-back, but came upon an unexpected problem which slowed his progress.
“We have two specifications only,” said Pedrosa. “From last year we did the same. In the last test we did the same. Basically we have some improvements. You can see some exhausts, something else inside the bike.
“We are [testing] back-to-back for the feeling and also at the last test we just finished the race so we need to check and then check the new specification.
“Then here it's a long time with no riding. You have to come back. I had to learn the track so I was with one specification that I know more and then switching to the other one. Not much.
“It was the first day. Tomorrow is going to be a bit more deep. Unfortunately we found this little problem. We don't know exactly what it is. I hope they can fix it for tomorrow.”
On what had caused the problem, Pedrosa added, “We are confused. We don't know if it's electronics or coming from a different part of the bike.”