McLaren-Mercedes test driver, Pedro de la Rosa has said that he and Heikki Kovalainen made a 'good start' on Thursday, as the all-new MP4-23 hit the track for the very first time.

Pedro was the first of the two drivers to venture out at Jerez, with the Spaniard beginning his programme at 09.05 hours local time. In total he managed 177 kilometres, while Kovalainen, who only started running this afternoon, did 128 kilometres.

"We covered 69 laps in total today between Heikki and me, which is a good start," said de la Rosa, who like his team-mate, was focusing on familiarisation with the car and running through a range of installation and set-up checks.

"The car felt positive and it has been an encouraging day. This is the second time I have had the opportunity to make the track debut with our new car, it is also the eighth car I have driven for the team.

"It is great for me to be in the car from the very beginning, as I am able to instantly build up an understanding of the car and how it works, and then start to put this knowledge into the testing programme.

"This time of the season, from when a new car is launched until the first race, is probably the busiest time of the year for the test team.

"We have 18 track days scheduled, including today, before the MP4-23s leave for Australia and a lot of work to complete in that time, but the motivation is huge with all the guys here."

de la Rosa will now hand over chassis 1 to Lewis Hamilton, before resuming test work on Monday, January 14, when fellow tester Gary Paffett will also be on track for the Woking-based outfit.



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