With reigning 250cc world champion Marco Simoncelli sidelined with a fractured wrist, title rival Alvaro Bautista duly finished the final pre-season test - at Qatar - fastest of all.
With Simoncelli doubtful to even race at this weekend's season opener, Bautista is now favourite for night race success.
Hiroshi Aoyama was second fastest at the test for Scot Honda, with Hector Barbera third for Pepe World Team Aprilia. Bautista's rookie Aspar Aprilia team-mate and reigning 125cc champion Mike di Meglio was fourth, within half a second of Bautista, with Cardion AB Motoracing's Karel Abraham fifth.
First free practice for the Qatar Grand Prix takes place on Friday evening.