Dani Pedrosa closed the gap to the Fiat Yamahas during day two of the Czech Republic Grand Prix, culminating in third on the grid, 0.383sec from pole in qualifying.
Pedrosa, like second fastest Jorge Lorenzo, set his best lap time with the harder compound Bridgestone tyre, as will be used in Sunday's race.
“At the end with the soft tyre I was not comfortable enough and there was a group of riders, everyone was slowing down, so I had to wait until I found a bit of space and then I pushed but it was too late. So my best time was with the race tyre,” said the Repsol Honda rider.
“The race rest-up is not so bad, I'd like to improve a little bit more, my pace and rhythm, then try to do a good race.”
Pedrosa and team-mate Andrea Dovizioso have some new parts for the factory RCVs this weekend, but Pedrosa was coy about whether they would be used in the race.
“We are trying some 'items', but these items... it is better to test on Monday when we have more time,” he said.
Pedrosa also repeated that he has not yet signed a new contract with Honda, despite an announcement on Friday that both he and Dovizioso had reached a 'basic agreement' for a new two-year deal.
“No, I haven't signed yet. The conversations are going well but nothing is decided yet,” said the 2009 US GP winner, who starts Sunday's eleventh round fourth in the championship.
Dovizioso will start his first race as a MotoGP race winner from sixth on the grid, almost one second from pole sitter Valentino Rossi. The Italian was using the new swing-arm.
“During the qualifying session we improved the race pace and reduced the gap to the leaders by about four tenths, so this is a positive move. We were further away than that yesterday and this morning so we're going in the right direction,” said Dovi.
“We are still need to go quicker if we want to fight for the lead in the race tomorrow so me and the engineers will be working on a few set-up areas that will, hopefully, give us an extra edge and allow us to compete at the front.
“In terms of the tyre choice we'll be going for the hard compound Bridgestones. There's only a small difference between the compounds but the hard tyre is the choice - no question. We'll aim to get the most of the warm-up session and give it everything in the race.”
“The Repsol Honda Team is working well and our only target is to win,” declared team manager Kazuhiko Yamano. “I know both riders will be fighting for that result in the race.”