Chaz Davies feels he and the Aruba.it Ducati World Superbike squad have made a step forward in winter testing after opting not to use a Pirelli qualifying tyre in the three-day test in Jerez.
The 2015 runner-up was the fifth fastest World Superbike runner in Andalusia on Friday as he continued to test minor changes, which he is hoping will allow the Panigale to keep up with Kawasaki's rapid new ZX-10R.
While Davies said he would put several of those parts “on the bike tomorrow if I had to race”, others need more evaluation and analysis over the winter months, before testing resumes in January.
“There are definitely a couple of things that I'd put on the bike tomorrow if I had to race, which is good. But there are a couple of things that need time and need analysis more than anything in Bologna for them to put the final package together.
"They are not things that are going to give us any advantage here but with a view to a bit of an advantage next year, compared to where we're at now. [There are] Little things where we can improve.”
Admitting that Kawasaki team-mates Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes appear even stronger than their '15 trim, Davies was content knowing he reeled off a succession of fast times on old rubber through Friday.
Indeed lap times confirmed his twentieth lap set on one pair of tyres was faster than his best lap from either World Superbike race at the Circuito de Velocidad
“Compared to the race lap it's way quicker, something like 1.3s but there are different conditions now. We're comparing it winter to winter because that's when this track is at its quickest. It gets greasy here pretty easily. To go half a second quicker here than where we were last winter - and I know we pushed really hard to set that time last winter – it's a good step.
“Today was by far the most consistent I've been on old tyres. On race rubber I was still banging out lap times that were quicker on the twentieth lap than my best lap in the race this year. When everything was together and I had the package [and] was feeling good I was happy with that. But it looks like Kawasaki have a strong package for 2016. I haven't seen race runs from them but I assume they're pretty decent.”
Despite this, Davies was a touch downcast, after expecting to go faster on the final day. Having set his fastest time of the day on Friday morning, he felt the amount of Michelin rubber laid down by MotoGP riders could have been to blame for a lack of grip in the afternoon.
“Friday afternoon was a bit odd to be honest. We tried what we needed to try and came up with the same kind of results as we did in Aragon. We need a bit of time to try and figure out the pros and cons. Apart from that we didn't get a lot else done. We did a lot this morning, not because of any issues but it was taking time. We had to wait 45 minutes for parts to bond.
“The pace seemed to be [worse on the final day]. I went out a bit at the end and we didn't put everything together. I pushed on a race tyre this morning and that was me done for the day. That was me with the best setting I had [on Thursday] and the bike felt pretty good like that.
“I didn't feel it was a fantastic lap. The time was pretty good; half a second quicker than I've gone around here before on a race tyre. That's positive but we still need more. This afternoon we expected to get on with it a little bit but the track was in strange shape.
“On Thursday I think the Michelin guys were saying that it might be because of the Pirelli rubber. It was causing them a few issues. Today, I can't put my finger on what it was, but it might have been the opposite way around because there were more Michelin bikes out there today. My bike was behaving a little bit differently to when I rode it here before, which couldn't just happen.”