Randy de Puniet could 'probably' have claimed fourth, just behind factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, on the final night timesheets at the Qatar MotoGP test.

The LCR Honda rider had been ranked fifth on the opening night - making him the highest placed RCV rider - but then had to settle for joint sixth on the second night after being held up by rookie Hector Barbera.

"I am very satisfied as we made good progress especially on suspension setting and race pace. The bike is smoother now whilst in Sepang the feeling was quite nervous," began the Frenchman.

"We did a race simulation (20 laps) and I posted my best time at the end of it... this is quite positive! I could do better today - probably 4th - but I found Barbera on my line in the last corner," he explained.

But de Puniet still left the test as the second best Honda rider, as the other four RCV competitors struggled with handling issues, leaving them just 13th (Pedrosa), 14th (Melandri), 16th (Aoyama) and 17th (Simoncelli).

de Puniet, who has more experience of Ohlins suspension than any other Honda rider, also has room for improvement.

"Our issues are still with making the rear suspension work well for us and the bike feeling quite nervous going into the corners, but I am delighted with the improvements of this test," he said.

de Puniet was the only Honda rider to start last season with Ohlins suspension, but all five other RCV riders have now made the switch from Showa. Ohlins will thus supply all 17-riders on the 2010 grid.

de Puniet finished tenth at Qatar last year. The 2010 season-opener takes place on the night of April 11.


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