Pol Espargaro was back on a KTM and back in the MotoGP top three as testing continued at Sepang on Saturday.
Changeable weather conditions prevented Espargaro from dispatching the comprehensive programme intended by the GasGas Tech3 squad but with the early afternoon allowing dry running on his RC16, the Spaniard set a 1’58.881 with his 11th effort, just 0.145s shy of the day’s best.
“Tricky day today with the weather,” Espargaro commented from Malaysia. “Especially on the second day which is very important because we have a big programme.
“It makes everything more busy and a little bit nervous for when the rain is going to come and how much. The laps have been not many, but each one of them has been super good to understand a little bit more the bike and the new packages we are trying.
“We had many things to try today. Unfortunately, we were unable to check all our to-do list, but the few things we worked on were positive. We tried a new chassis and a few new parts. For the chassis, we need to find a balance between the old and the new one, so we will work on that. Finally we had some new aerodynamic parts on the bike and it makes the bike a little bit better, turning a little bit better and a little bit better on top speed, which today we have not been too bad. I think that we got good information today.
“I’m not a huge fan of aero,” Espargaro explained honestly. “I mean, every time you put something on you need to inspect everything because they have such an effect on the bike. It depends where you put, the shape of the part you put on the bike, it really changes quite a lot the behaviour of the bike. So you need to be careful what you try, when you try and you need to be really sure of what you’re trying is better or not. At the end of the day I think the work was good and I’m happy with all the steps we did, slowly but I think they are right.
“We were a bit behind yesterday because we worked mainly with medium tyres, a little bit slow but today we were in the top which is very good with so many Ducatis on track, so definitely we are improving,” he continued. “I am happy because we are improving, and hopefully tomorrow we can push more because I have one more set of soft tyres that I did not use today.”