Jorge Lorenzo hailed “another great day” in which he continued to adapt at speed to the increased power and different characteristics of Ducati's GP17 at Sepang, and stated that, in its current guise, this machine can win races.
After a difficult first day, Lorenzo dropped his pace by eight tenths of a second on Tuesday. The three-time MotoGP world champion enjoyed a similar progression a day later, as he skimmed a further 0.717s off his personal best to finish as the tenth fastest rider across the three days.
Along with testing a host of items on Ducati's all-new bike, Lorenzo conducted a 19-lap race simulation, which underlined how well he has adapted from Monday to Wednesday, even if it was some way off Marc Marquez's ominous late run.
“[It was] Another great day for us,” proclaimed Lorenzo. “Position is not fantastic but again, a big improvement in the lap time, and understanding of the bike. Every time I feel better and better, and can be faster.
“I tried something also with the new bike. We made a simulation also with the new bike, even if we didn't adjust the bike, just made two laps, a small run, and then did the simulation.
“It was not perfect, the bike was not adjusted very well, but anyway, it was a good thing to make a lot of laps in a row and to understand many things.
“We already changed so many things. I needed to ride the bike a little more aggressively, more on-off with the throttle and also in braking.
“Also the bike needs to improve in some areas that Gigi [Dall'Igna – Ducati Corse's project leader] and the engineers know. But also we have a lot of strong points that we can take profit from in the future.”
Asked to judge where he currently stands in the adaption process, Lorenzo continued, “It's a question of time. It was a big shock the first day, and I felt that maybe I needed more time than I expected.
“But finally, a big improvement in just two days. I think we are still very far from our limit, but this is a good thing, because we are far from our limit but we are already fast. That means that when we get there we will be very, very fast. This is what we expect.”
And what of Ducati's potential to win a championship in 2017? “I think at this moment, without any modification – in the future we will improve some of the points we have to improve – we can win races.
“I don't know about the championship but we can win races. But to win more races we need to improve some of the points that need improvement, and then the result will come together.”
When testing in Valencia, Lorenzo had the luxury of picking the brain of Casey Stoner, who had been watching the Majorcan's first laps on a Ducati from trackside.
While Stoner was also present at Sepang, it was Ducati's lesser known test rider, Michele Pirro, who impressed Lorenzo with his trackside observations and explanations.
Thus, Pirro will act as Lorenzo's rider coach from now on, a role that ex-grand prix winner Wilco Zeelenberg had fulfilled in the past.
“Wilco is amazing, as a person and as an explainer,” said Lorenzo. “He explains very well and I became world champion also thanks to him.
"I'm very surprised with Michele, because finally we decided to have him as a track analyst, because he rides the same bike as me and also with competitive lap times.
“He knows exactly what to do to adapt yourself very quickly, because he stayed here four or five years, and at the beginning, he felt more or less the same as me, because he also prefers to have corner speed.
“So he gave me advice, and finally, using his advice works on the track. So very happy with Michele and we will form a great team in the future.”