Andrea Dovizioso's decision to switch to Ohlins suspension before the end of last season looks to be paying off as the Italian once again outpaced team-mate Dani Pedrosa at the start of the Qatar night test.
Since 2010 testing began at Sepang in early February, Dovizioso has outpaced Pedrosa on four of the five 'days', including Thursday night at Losail.
But the bad news for Dovi was that he was only sixth fastest on Thursday, having been beaten by satellite Honda rider Randy de Puniet and left 1.4sec behind fastest man Valentino Rossi (Yamaha).
Dovizioso - who tried an updated swingarm and an altered riding position - is confident of a setting a faster time on Friday night, although his target of a low 1min 56sec would only have been good enough for fourth on Thursday.
“I'm quite satisfied because I could lap consistently tonight - which gives us a good base for tomorrow, when the target for us will be to lap in the low 1m 56s,” said Dovi, who took his first MotoGP race win last year, but finished one place lower in the championship than in his rookie 2008 season.
“Today we changed my riding position a little bit and the feeling was very good. We also tested a different swing arm which allows us to use some different set-up options. Compared to the Sepang test I'm more satisfied with where we are and we could lap well in the first part of the session, although after 10pm the grip changed each time we went out on track. We didn't reach our full potential today, so I think that tomorrow we can improve further.”
Pedrosa - who stuck with Showa suspension until the end of last season - now has just one more night in which to find a cure for his present stability problems, which left the eight-time MotoGP race winner in tenth place on Thursday, although only 0.25sec behind Dovizioso.
“We made some progress today and moved forward from where we were at the last test in Malaysia - this is positive. I'm confident that tomorrow we can take some further steps and get closer to the front, and we'll be working hard to make sure that happens,” he said.
“Our issues are still with making the rear suspension work well for us and also with the bike feeling quite nervous under acceleration and going into the corners. So these are the areas we'll be thinking about overnight and focusing on tomorrow. We've got one testing session to go so we'll be looking to make the most of it.”
The first race of the 2010 season takes place at Qatar on April 11.