Colin Edwards matched his Portuguese MotoGP race result of sixth during Monday's test session at the Estoril circuit.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider used the rare chance for in-season testing to run through a range of set-up options on his YZR-M1 and also joined his rivals in trying the 2012 spec Bridgestone tyres.
The tyres, designed for the new 1000cc era, offer improved feedback and edge grip. After setting his best lap time with the new-spec rears, Edwards admitted he hopes Bridgestone will choose to use them later this year.
“It was a really positive test and it was good to get an opportunity to have a play around with some different settings that you don't necessarily get chance to try over the race weekend,” said Edwards, who was 1.199sec behind fastest man Marco Simoncelli.
“We just concentrated all our effort on finding some rear traction and it felt like we've made a big step. We tried various different combinations for the rear shock and linkages and we've found a good direction and we definitely made it better than it was for the race, so hopefully we found a set-up that will help us at the next race in Le Mans.
“I really like the direction Bridgestone is going in for 2012. I felt comfortable immediately on the new tyres and they've done some phenomenal work. Right from the first lap you get a lot of understanding and feel. The lap time was pretty similar with both and I'd love to have them this year.
“Based on what we've figured out today and the improvements we've made, I'm looking forward to going to France and getting another top six finish for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in its home race.”
Rookie team-mate Cal Crutchlow was a surprise fourth fastest.