Whilst warning that there is 'more work to be done', Bridgestone was impressed by Dani Pedrosa's pace during his debut on Japanese rubber at Monday's post-race Misano test.
Less than 24 hours after official confirmation of the Spaniard's shock mid-season switch from Michelin, the Repsol Honda rider set a best lap time of 1min 35.555secs with 'standard specification' Bridgestones fitted to his valve-spring RC212V - very close to the 1min 35.479secs he'd recorded on his way to fourth place in the San Marino Grand Prix.
Pedrosa then clocked a stunning 1min 34.652secs with the pneumatic-valve Honda, which he hadn't ridden since pre-season testing. That time was 0.827secs under his best race lap on Michelin tyres and 0.252secs under the fastest race lap of all, set by (Bridgestone-shod) Misano winner Valentino Rossi.
"Dani Pedrosa tested with our tyres for the first time in the Misano test and he was able get up to speed quite quickly," confirmed Tohru Ubukata, Bridgestone Motorsport's manager of Motorcycle Race Tyre Development. "He was able to complete a lot of laps using our standard specification front and rear tyres, which seemed to be well matched to his Repsol Honda machine. The team had to work hard on adapting his bike to the Bridgestone tyres and there is more work still to be done, but it was a promising first test."
Indeed, the test was so promising that Pedrosa believes he can take his first Bridgestone win during the five remaining rounds of the season.
"Of course, there is a lot of work to do but I am determined to win again this year," he said.
Meanwhile, Pedrosa's tyre switch appeared to mark the latest stage in a creeping shift towards a single-tyre MotoGP World Championship for 2009 - something that has the support of the majority of riders, but which both Bridgestone and Michelin are keen to avoid.
Upon reviewing the Misano weekend, Ubukata was keen to highlight the close competition between the two brands, following two disastrous rounds for Michelin.
"It was a competitive weekend from a tyre perspective with both manufacturers quite evenly matched over the entire weekend," said Ubukata. "From Friday practice, we could see that our rivals had returned to their usual high performance level, and there was a very balanced split on all three days of the weekend… Naturally, Valentino's win was an excellent result for us and our tenth win of the season, but our rivals were not far behind."