Timesheet topper Chaz Davies has continued to lay down a marker to the rest field with the Welshman and Aruba.it Racing Ducati working flat-out to find extra performance.
With the factory Kawasaki riders sitting out the Portuguese test it was always likely that Davies would set the pace while using the test evaluating various chassis and engine parts.
“We spent the second day jumping from the 2017 bike and back to the 2016,” said Davies. “The new bike has a different engine and some other changes. Doing that allowed us to understand a couple of reasons why I wasn't able to get as good a feeling as I'd hoped for during the Jerez test and when we back to backed a few things it narrowed down the area from where that feeling was coming from.
“Day two we were going back to the 2016 bike, although it's not got quite as good an engine, there were positives from it. It's just a matter of mixing both those bikes for the next test.
“At the minute on the first touch of gas the new bike is a little nervous but it's just a matter of time to dial that out now that we have so much data from the running this week. There's definitely potential with the 2017 once we smooth it out and I'm happy with how this test went.”
Another area Davies worked on was adapting to the new specification of qualifying tyre. Pirelli will bring a new tyre to races this year that will allow riders to last more than a single flying lap. Davies explained that the tyre felt more similar to a very soft compound rather than the typical feel of a qualifying tyre.
“I used the new qualifying tyre and I managed to match my time to the regular qualifier even though I did six laps on it,” he said. “I think that it's not really a qualifying tyre because it doesn't have the out and out grip of a qualifier but I quite like it because you get a minimum of three laps from it. You get only a little bit less grip than a normal qualifier but you can keep pushing for longer.
“From a TV perspective it could be good because whereas in the past the rider needed to do his time on the first lap now you have an extra few laps to set the time.”
By Kent Brockman