They say a picture paints a thousand words, but the photo above, taken by Cormac Ryan Meenan for the Repsol Honda press release, actually needs several dozen just to explain what is going on. No, it's not raining. No, the Honda RC213V has not dropped a rod, blown a valve, or had an oil pipe come lose (Hondas only ever suffer 'electrical problems', of course). That yellow cloud Pol Espargaro is trailing in his wake is sand, strewn all over the track by the strong winds and sandstorm that also played havoc with F1 in nearby Bahrain.
The strong winds and sand rendered the final day of the test completely useless. At one point, the entire session was red flagged due to the conditions. But even when the track was open, few were keen to ride. Only 9 of the 29 riders present even took to the track, clocking up a grand total of 56 laps between them. And that included in and out laps. That is pretty much the average of what each rider was putting in on Thursday.
A lot of those laps weren't even full laps. Pol Espargaro, Takaaki Nakagami, Brad Binder, and Maverick Viñales put in 20-odd laps between them just doing practice starts, starting from the pits, cruising around, then coming in to try another start, after making a few adjustments to electronics and clutch.