Sam Lowes shrugged off a difficult Wednesday, when he crashed twice, to find a level of comfort with Aprilia's MotoGP machine, and believes more is to come on the final day of the Australian test.
The Englishman ended Thursday 22nd overall, but was nonetheless pleased with electronics improvements and overall pace, which he feels was not reflected in the final lap time.
Continuing of Aprilia's 2016 machine, Lowes was able to take a great deal from following more experienced team-mate Aleix Espargaro for several laps, which helped him set a fastest time of 1m 30.895s.
“Obviously yesterday was a bit of a nightmare,” said Lowes. “The first crash was a bit unlucky. Crashes aren't unlucky but three of us crashed at the same point all in one go. The second was not my fault. It was just one of them things. So we lost a day, really. Today we were into the 1m 30s.
“The pace is good, [and] it's quite close. If you look in front of me, if I gain half a second I'd jump up quite far. Today, this afternoon, I used no new tyres, so I've got four for tomorrow. Only eight were allocated for the three days. I've done good to save them. I've improved my pace a lot on old tyres. Like today I was doing low 1m 31s on used tyres.
“At the minute, if you actually look at the pace of the top ten in front of me, and that's a race, then the pace is what they're doing. It's just the one lap that's a bit off. In the morning we'll try to improve a little on that. It's not the biggest target obviously because at the minute I just need to keep working.
“Obviously I'm on the old bike and we know the new bike is stronger in performance. We can see it on the data. The chassis we think is better. That's why we chose that direction. So that's still to come. It's not going to be a second but I think there's a few tenths in that.
“We're still working away, going under the radar and that's a good thing. I think the other rookies are riding well. Maybe their bike is a bit more user friendly. I think the potential of ours is the same but it takes a bit more understanding.
“Also today we lost an engine. At that point we had two very different bikes. The one that broke was the good direction. In the end we lost an hour as well. It's not been perfect but a really productive day.
“We've worked everything into working for tomorrow and we've got a good situation with tyres and a good situation with the bike. If tomorrow we make a good step up, if I can get a bit closer, rather than being a step behind, if I can get into that group that'd be a decent improvement for this test.”
On what he learnt from watching his team-mate at close quarters, Lowes added, “It's incredible really. If you took the lap time off my bike I'd have said I was going slower. When I was there I had my best time. It was really important for me to do that because I'm riding the bike wrong. I'm fast in points where I should be slow. It's just understanding that. It's all in there.
“We just have to put it all together. MotoGP is the top. You don't just come in and go fast. Honestly, I'm really positive. After everything yesterday it was really good to get today under our belt.”