Franco Morbidelli goes on holiday with a small but significant amount of experience with the MotoGP. The Moto2 world champion spent 4 days getting to grips with the Honda and has shown continuous progress. Right now, it's the riding sensations that count, rather than lap times.
“Today we saw an improvement in my lap time once I switched at the end of the day to the soft tyre, but we also saw a big improvement in my pace on the medium tyre, which I was happy about. Yesterday we were looking for more corner speed and today it seems we found it, which is where the improvement in the lap time came from mainly" explains Franco.
Changing category is not easy, the MotoGP bikes are not just faster but also more complicated. Picking up the pace during each session is important.
"It was a little bit from the bike and a little bit from me - he observes - That's how it seems to be working; I make a step then we make a step with bike and that demands another step from me. There is still a lot for me to learn and this learning process will continue next year in Sepang, but for now I'm satisfied with the progress made here and in Valencia. Having said that, I'm looking forward to getting to a fast, wide track like Sepang and letting the bike loose on a flowing circuit where you can use all the power."
He still has a while to wait. Franco was sharing the garage with his former team-mate Alex Marquez, who was standing in for Luthi. The Swiss rider is recovering from injury and team Marc VDS decided to bring the Spaniard in to test while it waits for Luthi to return.
"Yesterday was the first opportunity to try the bike and to get to know the team, whereas today was more like a proper test - explains Alex - I enjoyed riding the bike today and we made a big step with the wheelie issue I had yesterday. It was much better in the turns, but I still had the problem on the straights because I was riding them in a straight line like on the Moto2 bike. If you look at Marc and Dani, or in fact all the MotoGP riders, they ride on the straights in a different way. I enjoyed the two days here in Jerez and I'm happy to have had this experience. I hope I've helped the team and that Tom will have it a little bit easier now when he returns from injury in Sepang. Now my focus is back on Moto2 and making sure I prepare fully for the 2018 season during the winter break."