Foggy PETRONAS Racing's Steve Martin and Craig Jones showed good pre-season form today for the first of a four day test at Phillip Island in Australia.
With both riders' performance at the team's previous test in Qatar last December being affected by injury and illness - with Steve recovering from surgery and Craig struck with a viral bug - they were eager to return to their PETRONAS FP1 seats in full health and fitness.
With the day's forecast rain not materialising, Craig's first visit to the circuit saw him complete almost 50 laps as he familiarised himself with the track layout and its unique nature. Although hampered by a few technical difficulties, the young Brit was able to steadily improve his lap times to finish the day with a time of 1:37.83.
Steve was immediately on the pace around his native circuit, lapping consistently in the 1:34s. He worked solidly through his testing schedule, completing over 70 laps, to further evaluate development parts and suspension settings in preparation for testing new tyre compounds tomorrow.
Craig said, "I feel 75 per cent there with learning the track and I've really enjoyed today. It's been a bit of an eye opener riding here for the first time as the circuit is like no other I've ever ridden at before. It's fast, bumpy and undulating, with lots of blind corners and, it's so windy! I'm happy with what I've achieved today although a few minor technical issues hindered my track time, so now I'm looking forward to tomorrow to start my testing programme now that I have a feel for the track."
Steve commented, "I'm happy with how the day has gone and we've made positive steps forward each time I've gone out. My lap times have also been good and consistent from the outset, so it's good to be on the pace and feeling back at full health and fitness to really 'ride' the bike."