Colin Edwards is looking for increased wheelie control from his Tech 3-run YZR-M1 after finishing a 'happy' sixth in Friday free practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
The Texan's best time was over one-second slower than Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, but only 0.4sec outside of the top three at the end of the 45-minute session.
“That was a good solid start and I'm happy with the bike,” declared the Texan. “Yamaha has done a great job because we seem to go from track to track and be right up with the leaders from the start.
“There are a couple of things with the electronics and chassis set-up that we can definitely find at least another half-a-second to go consistently quicker around the 40.3 area. That's not going to trouble Valentino but that would be a big step for us and put us in contention.
“With the electronics we just need to get the anti-wheelie working a bit better. Yamaha did a great job with that in the winter and we needed that improvement on a track like this where you accelerate hard out of a lot of slow hairpins.
“I'm losing a little bit of time on acceleration and we can still make it better, but my guys at Tech 3 know what they are doing and I know we'll make a big step for tomorrow. I'm doing those lap times and I'm not 100 per cent comfortable, so that bodes well for the weekend knowing we've got a lot of room for improvement,” he concluded.
Team-mate James Toseland backed up his first top ten result of the season in Japan last weekend with eleventh place on Friday.
The 28-year-old had dropped out of the top ten after a switch to a harder front fork setting failed to yield the expected improvement.
“We went for a harder setting on the front fork to help with some of the heavy braking points but it didn't really work as we'd liked,” confirmed the Englishman. “We also changed the rear a bit from Japan and the balance wasn't really there.
“We didn't really have time to go back to plan B but even with a couple of small issues I'm not too displeased with my time and I know my potential is much higher. I think what is going to be crucial is to conserve the tyre here over race distance and that's something I'll work out with my team.
“I ran the harder rear today because of the hot conditions and even that was sliding around a little after about eight laps. I could see a few other people were having the same problems, so a decent race set-up will be critical,” added the #52.