Franco Morbidelli declared himself satisfied with improvements which pushed him upward on the time sheets on Thursday, and allowed him to trim tenths of a second off his overall pace.

The 2017 Moto2 world champion found the tight, sinewy Jerez track difficult to understand on Wednesday with more than 260bhp at his disposal. But, after a night of rest and contemplation, Morbidelli was much improved on the final afternoon.

The Italian was the eleventh quickest name on Thursday evening, his fastest lap of 1m 38.923s just 1.2s off overall pace setter Andrea Dovizioso, who Ducati was under the outright track record.

And Morbidelli was content. He was able to carry more corner speed than before thanks to sufficient tweaks to his riding style.

“Today we improved the lap time from yesterday, but especially we improved the pace by a lot,” he said. “I'm also happy about my final lap time which is not so bad. We focused to work on the medium tyre, and then at the end of the day I tried the soft one and I improved my lap time. So I'm very happy how the day went.

“Everything is a bit more difficult, so I have to adapt to everything, every detail, every aspect of the bike, every aspect of the riding style. It's a bit more difficult, and the limit is a bit further, so I have to step by step try to reach the limit in every aspect.

“Yesterday we were looking for a bit more corner speed, and today it looks like we found it a little bit. So I improved basically in corner speed today, and I improved the lap time.

“You know, a little bit the bike improves, and you improve, and then the bike needs to improve again, then you need to improve again. It's me and the bike and the crew, we are making small steps to improve.”

So how far away is he from where he needs to be? “1.2 seconds,” he quipped. “[And] That's without Márquez. Now without Márquez it's 1.2 seconds, then we will have to see how much it is.”

Morbidelli described the added power of a MotoGP machine as ‘fantastic’ after his first outing at Valencia. Asked whether he was not accustomed to it, he said, “I think you never get used to this power, because your nose is always pointing to the sky, but not only me, also [Cal] Crutchlow and everybody else. So it's really hard to get used to this power. But I think I'm getting used to it.

“Now we are I think on the standard electronics, HRC gave us a good mapping setup, so we are using that mapping setup, and we are just trying to learn and trying to improve the base that HRC gave us.”

And is he finding the expereience overly physical compared to his 600cc Moto2 machine? “After two days of testing, especially here and Valencia, here is a track where it upsets a lot the right side of the body, because a lot of right handers and hard braking on the right side, and Valencia is a track that upsets a lot the left side.

“I think that of course compared to Moto2, I need a bit more strength, but I was expecting to be further away. After two days of testing I feel good. I think it's a bit more a question of strength so I can push more when I am on the bike, but when I jump off the bike, I feel good.

“I think it was nice to ride here and Valencia, because these are two tracks you learn a lot, I think. These are two tracks that are really demanding for your riding style, and are really tricky for riding at MotoGP bike at.

“It's really hard to ride a MotoGP bike at Valencia and it's really hard to ride a MotoGP bike here, because these are two really narrow tracks with tight corners, and stuff like that. I'm looking forward to going to Sepang and letting the bike loose, letting it express its power, and see how it goes in a bit more flowing track.”


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