Marc Marquez is convinced that Movistar Yamaha team-mates Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi will pose the greatest threat in 2017, having following the former at one stage on Friday afternoon.
The reigning world champion finished the three-day test at Phillip Island second overall, 0.294s off Viñales' fastest time, and six tenths of a second up on eleventh placed Rossi.
It was a spell behind Viñales however which proved just how well the Yamaha was working, and showed that both his young Catalan rival and Rossi have a “really competitive” package, with the M1's stability through fast corners impressing.
“Today there was one run that I go out and I saw that he pass,” said Marquez, who innocently stated there was nothing peculiar about following Viñales, even though the Yamaha man said it “was not normal."
“Then there was some gap. Then I was able to recover this gap. Then I follow him two laps and [it was] interesting to see a different bike.
“When you arrive in the first race you see because the race weekend is completely different to here. Here everyone is working a lot. Of course both Yamaha riders, they will be there.
“And Ducati riders, here they are struggling a little bit more, but always some luck to them. Also my team-mate. My team-mate will be strong this year too.”
Asked to evaluate the strengths of Viñales after watching him from a close distance, Marquez was in no mood to dish out personal compliments.
“Where he was so strong was the bike was so stable in the fast corners,” he said. “Like corner one, corner eight. Our bike is more nervous but every year we come here we have the same problem in these corners. But we are working hard to fix.
“It [Yamaha] is a really stable bike but of course he was fast.”
It was another busy day from Marquez, as he completed a staggering 96 laps one day on from posting 107. Determined to attain a strong base set-up for the first race of the year, the man celebrating his 24th birthday, was content with the test.
“Yeah, we found a small road, a small way. Every day I was saying the same thing, that we were missing something on the electronics and the engine. But today, especially in the afternoon we improved quite a lot.
“In the morning we did quite a big change and we spent a lot of time trying big things. But then in the afternoon we concentrate more in our base. We worked on these problems and immediately in every exit the lap time was coming better and better and better because I was feeling better on the bike.
“It looks like they [HRC] start to understand what I want with this engine. Still, it's not what I want but it's coming better and better. But you know, I'm always thinking that this circuit is a special [different] one.
“I mean, the riding, the set-up of the bike, it's a special one. Now I want to check in Qatar how it works.”
On the electronics package he added, “This is something that already last year here on these dates we were much further [from the top]. But yeah, we spend more than 100 laps per day.
“We spend a lot of time. But I think it's normal. It's a new engine. We must understand. But it's important to arrive in Qatar and from the beginning have a good base. During the race weekend we cannot do 100 laps per day. The time is much less.
“They are working. HRC is working really hard. They are trying to fix the problems that I feel. Step-by-step also we are looking to have something more in the engine. But yeah, they are working hard.
“Since the first day of the preseason to now we improve a lot. So still three days in Qatar remain and we will try to improve even more. Then we'll know from the first race the engine close. Just try to work hard these last three days.”