Sylvain Guintoli was more than pleased with his progress aboard the Crescent World Superbike Yamaha YZF-R1 at Jerez and revealed he is already fine-tuning several aspects of the machine, such is its strong base setting.
Although new team-mate Alex Lowes dislocated his left shoulder on Wednesday and has since been absent, Guintoli made strides with the machine's electronics package and engine braking on Thursday.
The team decided to not release the lap times of either rider before the test, but Guintoli stated “we're already competitive, especially for how far along we are sitting in development.”
Neither rider used the 2016 engine and Guintoli also spoke of how he has been using a standard swingarm throughout the test, suggesting considerable gains are still to be made before the season starts in Australia in February.
“For where we are with the development, which is very early, the lap times are surprisingly good,” explained the 2014 World Superbike champion. “Like I said, it's not massively relevant. It's just encouraging. What is relevant is trying to identify where we can improve and there's plenty of that.
“We need time like this when it's a completely new project. There is so much to try even though the bike was running in various championships last year. It's important for us to explore all the possibilities and to look forward. For now everything is going according to plan. We're getting a really good understanding of what we need to go forward.
“[On Thursday] We did loads more experimenting. Today was another really good day testing on the chassis and understanding where we need to work for the winter. We're getting a lot more technical about the management of the electronics and the engine brake. We're getting a lot closer basically. We're fine-tuning and from there we'll try to understand the way for the development.”
While joking that lap times “are not that interesting”, Guintoli went on to state how he knew the R1 was competitive from the very first shakedown test. Going forward into testing in January, the Frenchman is still testing settings to identify all the strengths and weaknesses of the machine.
“Straight away from the first shakedown you can sometimes find some teething problems but the first test was very, very positive. It's where you can feel the character of the bike. You can feel the DNA. You kind of already know after a couple of laps. This first feeling was very positive.
“The base is very good. We've got to be careful to not change the character of the bike which is very good and working well right now. We need to just identify some keep points because the gains now don't need to be…it's not like we're going around three seconds slower than everybody.
“What we have to develop has to be a gain. The bike we have is so good as a standard bike we need to be careful with which area we're going to work on because, honestly, we don't want to make the bike worse. It's interesting going around and trying different geometries and settings to identify certain weaknesses and strengths.
“We'll be working on different performance areas, like the electronics, the engine. There is also development and ideas regarding the chassis that I feel can have some benefits. So all the things basically. The engine is obviously one of the areas for development. The things will move on during the winter and during the year.”