Eighth quickest (+0.769s) at the end of his Ducati debut at Valencia in November, triple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo was 'surprised' by a more difficult start to this week's opening 2017 test at Sepang.
The Spaniard, in full red livery for the first time, finished the day 17th out of the 27 riders. Lorenzo set a best lap time 1.669s behind Ducati's star test rider and retired double world champion Casey Stoner.
"I was really slow at the beginning then improved my lap time little-by-little and got closer to the top," Lorenzo said. "Then it started to rain before we could do another step, but the important thing is every time we are faster and looking at the other Ducatis at the top demonstrates that the bike has the potential to go very, very quick. That's good."
Lorenzo's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso backed up Stoner's form with second on the timesheets with the new GP17, with Aspar's Alvaro Bautista fourth on a GP16, although tyre choice was also a factor.
"I'm losing mainly on braking," Lorenzo explained. "In the middle of the corner I don't lose so much and on acceleration I'm even sometimes faster than Andrea. But on braking I need to adapt myself more than I expected, to what the bike requires.
"This bike if you try to brake and release the brake before entering the corner, like on the Yamaha - carrying corner speed, without braking - the bike doesn't turn and it requires, not another riding style, but another way to achieve a good lap time. This is what I'm trying to understand, which is the best way to ride the bike with my 'DNA'.
"We worked on the setting, ergonomics and position on the bike. We will just concentrate on this and try to improve my riding, every time we go out.
"I'm not disappointed, but surprised because I expected more or less the same as Valencia. That I would be there, but I was very, very far!" he smiled. "But what gives me confidence is that we made a huge improvement during the day and also to see three Ducatis in the top, demonstrates that the bike has the potential to go very quick. At least for one lap, let's see if also we can keep a very constant pace."
Pressed on whether he had used the bike with the new 'salad box' at the rear, or the standard layout (central exhaust), Lorenzo said that he had only used the standard bike.
FIRST LOOK: Jorge Lorenzo in Ducati Red by Crash_net
By Peter McLaren