As was the case in Sepang, Cal Crutchlow was frustrated by the need to adjust electronics settings to Honda's new engine on Wednesday at Phillip Island, but admitted that if there was a MotoGP race tomorrow, he'd be well placed.
The Englishman returned to the scene of his first dry weather grand prix triumph, and featured toward the front throughout a day that was topped by fellow-Honda runner Marc Marquez. Crutchlow was an impressive fifth.
With one '16 spec bike at his disposal, the 30-year old continued to give little away with regards to the exactitude of his second bike. Yes, it features his '16 chassis and a new engine. But the same engine as Marquez and Dani Pedrosa?
“No [we aren't running the same spec bike],” he said with a smile. “But I don't know if that's engine, chassis... I don't know. I just know they're using something different to what we are.”
And while Crutchlow complained of the frustrating inconsistencies of the day, his times pointed to the notion that both he and Honda are in good shape.
An occasional comment here and there, such as when he revealed he has barely begun to fine-tune the RC213V's settings, also suggested as much.
“Just give me what I had here in the race and I'll do it again,” joked Crutchlow, 0.568s off the fastest time of the day. “I tested the same engine as what I was using in Malaysia.
“We had last year's bike here also as a reference, but we only did two runs on it. In the end I felt quite comfortable in my pace. We had quite a lot of, not teething problems, but a lot of problems that we needed to sort out by coming into the pits.
“We'd do a lap time three seconds slower than what we were doing before, blah blah blah. So we were in and out of the pits a little but overall I'm happy with my feeling. It could be a lot better than what it is. I know what it takes to be fast around here.
“Even today I was fast enough and competitive enough I felt. But it felt more difficult today than what it did at a race weekend as a whole. But I think for everyone it might have done because the track was hot. I believe we can definitely work. There's definitely some lap time in the package. We'll go from there.
“In the end we never really got so far [with electronics]. They [Repsol Honda] are working on a different programme to us. I think they'll be working on what we've been working on. Maybe it will chop and change. I don't know yet.
“At the moment I feel OK. If the race was today or tomorrow I think we'd be in a good position. But I think it's harder than what it was at the race weekend because we wasted a lot of time messing around. Our bike in October we knew what it was and what to do with it.
“But this one is up, down, left, right... And we haven't really touched the setting of the bike. It's just been the electronics and a few other things.”
Up front with engine specifications he may not have been, but Crutchlow did specify that, while adapting electronics to its different characteristics has been as time consuming as it has been trying, there is serious potential there.
“It's definitely not easier to ride,” he continued. “I can tell you that. Sure, if you ask Marc the same question, we don't actually know where we're, not gaining the lap time, but keeping the good lap time. We have no idea.
“In general they're working hard. It's the second or third time on track. So we have to wait and keep working with that and go in that direction with everyone working together because it's going to speed up the process.
“I mean in the moment I think it's got a lot more potential than what there is now, which is encouraging. But we need to work on other stuff other than that.
“It seems the other factories haven't changed so much from last year. They have a base with the electronics are set. It's more the riders getting used to the packages compared to us. Or it seems.
“We're happy enough. Honda have worked hard between the Malaysia test and now. They'll have to work even harder between now and Qatar.”