Following the conclusion of the first pre-season MotoGP test at Sepang, Oriol Puigdemont looks back at what we have learned so far about the 2016 season.
1. Yamaha is on a different level
2. Lorenzo is on a roll
The title he secured in Valencia, and especially the way in which he clinched it, has given a lift to the Spaniard, who is showing to be more confident than ever. Even on a track where he has never won, he was setting the pace effortlessly.
According to him, Michelin's arrival has benefited him a lot, and that has been reflected both by the stopwatch and his demeanour.
3. Rossi is seeking answers
4. Honda is not listening
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa saw it coming: having struggled last year with an excessively powerful engine, now they find themselves in an even worse situation. Honda, loyal to its philosophy of downplaying the riders' feedback, doesn't appear to have listened this time.
It's all down to finding out if the current electronics can control a prototype that appears to be a wild horse. "There's a possibility that we'll arrive in Qatar without being completely ready," said Marquez.
5. Stoner is ready to race
Just a couple of days were enough to make it clear that if the Casey Stoner decides to race again, he'll need very little time to be competitive. For the moment, he's denying it, but Ducati has made it clear he has carte blanche to do it.
Despite riding the 2015 bike, Stoner left Sepang with the fastest lap for a Ducati (2m01.070s). The Southport rider will not be back on the bike until a private test in Qatar, not long before the start of the season. There, he is expected to focus on the new Desmosedici GP16.
6. Discomfort at Ducati
7. Satellite teams are far back
8. Michelin did its homework...
9. ...But needs to get to the bottom of Baz's accident
10. Phillip Island will clear the picture
In Australia we'll have look to see how the Yamaha is working. If Lorenzo and Rossi dominate again, it will be pretty clear that they will arrive in Qatar as the main title favourites again.
It will be after Phillip Island that both riders decide which bikes they will use: the hybrid prototype or the 2016 one. We'll also know if Honda is capable of controlling the power of its engine with its electronics.
Ducati will definitely need to focus on the GP16, and Suzuki will continue working on both the 2015 and 2016 chassis, trying to adapt them to the electronics and the new seamless shift gearbox.