By his own admission, ending the first day of testing in 17th position, 1.6s off the pace had come as “a shock”, but Jorge Lorenzo was bullish on Tuesday, after a “huge progression” left him more than satisfied with his afternoon's work.
On Monday the three-time world champion had stressed the differences between Ducati's Desmosedici and Yamaha's M1. The Bologna bike simply wouldn't turn when he attempted to release the brakes early, and move toward the corner, Lorenzo said.
Instead, finding a later braking marker was key, as was holding the brakes further into the corner. On Tuesday, this understanding began to bear fruit, as Lorenzo finished the day eighth, just a second off the fastest time of the test, and one place behind team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
“Yesterday was a shock to find some difficulties to be competitive on the first day,” said a more upbeat Lorenzo. “But as I expected, it was just a question of time to get adapted to the bike. Now the bike is much more natural for me, and I can be faster.
“Anyway, still a long way to arriving to the limit with this bike on this track, but we are much closer, and the progression has been huge, so we should be very satisfied with the work we have done today.
“Today I could brake later and better, to stop the bike in less meters, and this has been a huge improvement.”
Pushed to specify whether this change in riding style is required in all types of corners, Lorenzo said the slow turns – namely one, nine, 14 and 15 – required the most attention.
“Let's say that the slow corners, the hairpins, you need to ride very different,” added Lorenzo. “The faster corners, a little bit different but you can still carry a lot of corner speed.”
Still, Ducati didn't spend copious amounts for Lorenzo to finish eighth, and the Majorcan acknowledged there is still some way to go, especially as he seeks to get the best out of new rubber.
“Still I need to understand how to get the best from a new tyre. I still don't perform as good as the grip as the new tyre can offer you, but with the old tyres I am almost as fast as before.
“So I need to improve in that area, to know the bike, to attack more, and to know where I can improve the lap time in time attack conditions. But the bike has a lot of good points that will give us a benefit in the future.”
On his feeling with the new tyres Michelin brought to the test, Lorenzo was also positive. “I think almost everyone tried, and it's better, in general it's better. It has more grip in the traction area, low grip is more or less the same, but entry and traction is better. It's softer, and that's why it's better.”