Five days into the 2017 preseason and Jorge Lorenzo was still searching for that illusive set-up change that would bring him greater comfort in all aspects of his riding, as he ended the day a disappointing 15th fastest.
The Majorcan lowered his personal best lap time by close to half a second on Thursday at Phillip Island but nevertheless found his Ducati GP17 to be 1.350s off Maverick Viñales' fastest pace of the day.
Improvements were coming, he said that evening, but just not at the rate he was expecting. Lorenzo found his corner speed to be well below the level expected, while how he enters turns and applies the throttle on their exit is still proving problematic.
Having assessed the data of fourth fastest Alvaro Bautista – finding a new lease of speed aboard Ducati's year-old GP16 - Lorenzo could see his corner speed lagging well behind that of his countryman. “Something isn't right,” he mused.
“Well, I think we just gain a little bit at the end of the straight at this moment! We lose in most of the track, maybe 95 percent of the track, mainly in the corner speed.
“The corner speed, to stop the bike and in the braking, releasing the brake, the bike is difficult to turn. In some areas also the engine is a little bit too nervous. We're improving little-by-little.
“More little than more than what we expected. But the most important thing is that we are every day faster and we did much more times in 1m 30s. Yesterday I just did five laps in 30s.
“Today most laps were in 30s. One was very close to 29. So let's see tomorrow, improving the bike, adapting myself a little bit more to the bike, if we can stay most laps in the 29s and low 30s.
“For sure, something is still not right and we didn't discover. We need to discover something to enter faster in the corners, to open more throttle and generally go faster in the corner speed.
“Probably we don't have the bike to carry the best corner speed but at this moment Bautista at this moment is much faster than me in the corners and we have to understand what is going on.”
Both Lorenzo and new team-mate Andrea Dovizioso identified the Ducati to be lacking with regards to turning capabilities, something that is magnified by Phillip Island's succession of high-speed turns.
“Normally, all the Ducatis we are struggling a little bit in the middle of the corners to turn the bike. [There was] A small improvement today in all of the areas but for the moment there is no big step.
“We have very little time – just four practices before the Qatar race [weekend]. For the new regulations we could just test 2016 [bike] just in Valencia. This for sure doesn't help. Anyway, this is the situation we have and with what we have we have to do the maximum, no?”
All of this may have been easier to stomach had Viñales, Lorenzo's replacement at Movistar Yamaha, not shown such an explosive turn of pace. The 22-year old ended the day close to half a second clear of Marc Marquez, the next best rider.
Even Lorenzo, a five-time world champion, expressed his surprise at just how quickly Viñales has taken to Yamaha's M1. “Well, it's surprising,” he admitted.
“Even knowing that he's very, very fast and very aggressive and very young. I think it's a surprise for everyone that he's so, so quick. This is the truth.”