Jorge Martin has warned his Ducati team that it can expect to see more bikes challenging up at the front of the field for the 2024 MotoGP World Championship after spotting improvements from the Honda, Yamaha and Aprilia packages.
The 2023 MotoGP runner-up started his 2024 campaign in fine style as he dominated the first day of official pre-season testing at Sepang, Martin holding firm at the head of the timesheets for the majority of the eight-hour session.
Eventually lowering his best time to 1m 57.951secs - making him the only rider to dip into the 1m 57s bracket - Martin reveals he achieved the lap time on the 2024-spec Prima Pramac Ducati, adding that he felt it was an improvement on last year’s model.
“I didn’t expect to do the lap time but we feel good, we started as we left it so I am happy with that. We try to improve the weak points and I am trying to be a better rider, but we did a good job and I feel good.
“I was tried the new engine [in the morning], it felt good and I did the lap time with the new bike so this is a good reference. We will try a lot of times going back on the bike, the new bike is a bit better and has a lot of potential.”
Despite establishing himself as the reference point heading into Day 2, Martin took time to assess the competition over the course of the session.
Keeping tabs on the threat from Honda, Yamaha and Aprilia particularly, he says the trio of manufacturers appear to have found something significant in terms of straight-line performance.
Indeed, in a big confidence boost for Yamaha especially - which has lagged behind rivals for top speed for several seasons now - Fabio Quartararo turned in the fourth fastest straight-line speed. By contrast, Ducati - so often the benchmark in this area - found the majority of its bikes in the lower half of the ranking.
“I saw the Honda, Yamaha and Aprilia, they have improved a lot on the straight, I don’t know in the turning with the chassis but the speed was definitely improved, so I think we have to be ready for more bikes [at the front] this season”