Andrea Dovizioso will start his second season as a Repsol Honda rider, and third in MotoGP, in confident mood after concluding the final pre-season test in third position.
The Italian - who had a mixed 2009 season, but has been the leading RCV rider in four out of the six days of 2010 pre-season testing - slashed almost one-second from his best lap time on the final night of the Qatar test, to finish 0.526sec from Casey Stoner (Ducati) and just 0.019sec from world champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha).
“I'm really satisfied with these two days of testing because we took another significant step forward. I'm pleased to have the third fastest time today because we improved both consistency and pace, which is a result of the hard work done by Honda and by my team,” said Dovizioso, who took his first MotoGP race win last season, but no other podiums.
“Today [tonight] we focused on fine tuning the bike set-up and also the weight distribution. At the end of the session we wanted to do a race simulation but the track was too slippery because of the high humidity. Still, we have reduced the gap to Stoner and we are closer to Valentino as well.
“Of course we have to keep on working hard, but I'm happy to face the first round of the season with the machine package we have achieved so far.”
Dovizioso was also ranked third on overall lap times from the test, although the gap to Rossi increased to 0.477sec under those circumstances as the Yamaha rider was significantly faster on the first night.
The next best Honda rider was LCR's Randy de Puniet in joint seventh overall, while Dovizioso's factory team-mate Dani Pedrosa could only manage 13th.