Colin Edwards finished Friday practice for the Czech Republic Grand Prix as the leading satellite rider, in sixth position, after benefitting from a new front-end set-up for his M1.
Edwards was a permanent fixture in the top six as he took advantage of the improved turning performance from the experimental set-up.
Fourth at the halfway stage, Edwards finished the session between factory Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner, with a best lap time 1.2sec from pace setter Jorge Lorenzo.
“I felt pretty good immediately and I feel like we should be in for a strong weekend if we can build on the momentum from today," said Edwards. "A lot this season we have started on the back foot a bit and spent the whole weekend playing catch-up. But we've got a platform to build on and that's mainly down to a new front-end setting we tried.
"Thanks to my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 because they came up with this experimental setting and it worked really well. We put more weight on the front and I like it better than what I started the session on. Now the bike holds the turn a lot better and I'm not running wide.
"We've put more force through the front tyre to help it turn and I'm sure we can make another step tomorrow if we get dry conditions. I've never had a top six here before, so after this start I'm hoping to put that right on Sunday.”
Team-mate Ben Spies, who won at Brno in World Superbikes last season, couldn't find a set-up as easily as Edwards and finished the rain-shortened session in ninth.
“We started with the setting from Laguna Seca and I just couldn't quite reach the pace of where I needed to be," explained Spies. "But I know there is definite room for improvement. The first bike I just couldn't get working like I needed and we'd got quite a bit different front-end setting in the second bike. Right when I started my out lap on the second bike though I could see sprinkles of rain.
"I was trying to get round as quick as I could to at least get one fast lap in to try and compare the different front set-up and I'm pretty sure we've found something with that direction. The second bike should make it easier for me to roll through the middle of the corner because I was having to hold the brake a bit too much on the other bike to help it turn.
"I'm pretty frustrated because that bit of rain stopped me from getting in a few laps to properly try it and get some data. I wasn't fussed about bettering my time, I just wanted to feel the difference. But I'm 90 per cent sure that the second bike set-up is the way we need to go.”