The test on Monday at Jerez was probably the most important test of the year so far. A chance to test the day after a race, in similar conditions, and with ideas born of the data from the first four races of 2016 to try out.
There really was a lot to test: not just parts and setup, but also three new front tires from Michelin, as well as further work on the “safety” rear tire introduced after Argentina.
First out of the pits was Bradley Smith, determined to turn his tough start to the season around. Last on to the track was Valentino Rossi, rolling out of pit lane some time after 2pm.
Celebrations of his astounding victory at Sunday’s race must have been intense: the Italian was very hoarse when he spoke to us at the end of the day.
A major focus for all of the riders was on tires. Michelin had brought three new front tires to test, and the riders also had the remainder of their allocation from the weekend to use.
There was nothing new at the rear, but given how little experience they had with the construction introduced after Scott Redding’s rear tire delaminated in Argentina, there was much still to be learned.
Bradley Smith had described it as “a prototype”. The tire had done a handful of test laps, and then two races. It had created problems for everyone at Jerez on Sunday, and so much work was focused on finding more rear grip.