It's time to draw some initial conclusions after this first winter test session at Valencia and one of the happiest riders is undoubtedly Johann Zarco. The Frenchman has shaken things up in the Yamaha camp, fast both yesterday and today with the much maligned 2017 version of the bike.
“I'm pleased that with one year's experience I'm able to be immediately fast and experience different sensations to explain to the technicians. We can't say we've been any faster than we were over the weekend, but I feel I have the potential to be quicker; right now we're almost at the same level as with the 2016 bike, but with room to grow this time. Our aim now is to work on this bike and improve further”.
The Frenchman is adapting well to the new Yamaha, though he doesn't go into detail.
“I focused on feeling comfortable - explains Johann - not on specific aspects like corner entry or exit. With this bike I can play more, something that over the course of the season can be important when preparing for the races".
#5 knows what he's about and takes the opportunity to say his piece.
"The negative comments from the factory riders started during the season and Valentino complained particularly in wet conditions. Let's not forget that Vinales won in Qatar and Argentina, so we can't say it's a bad bike”.
One problem often cited by Rossi and Vinales was the excessive tyre wear in the final stages of a race, an aspect that the Frenchman started working on today.
“I focused on the tyres over half race distance: it's a difficult area but we're working on it. At times I felt comfortable, at other times less so. We'll look at the data and continue to work on this during the next tests; once we've found the right set-up to be able to exploit its potential, I think this can be a winning bike”.