Yamaha's reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo was the only non-Honda rider in the top five, at the end of Friday's pair of free practice sessions for the German MotoGP.
The Spaniard, who took his second win of the season last time in Italy, lapped just 0.095sec slower than Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli, with three other factory RCVs of Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso just behind him.
"I am pretty satisfied because I have improved my lap times today," said Lorenzo, who is 19 points behind Stoner after eight rounds.
"I am almost faster than last year and I look forward to making another step tomorrow.
"We have made some changes and I feel much better on my M1; faster and more competitive!
"The slow corners are tough, but in the faster ones I take some tenths, especially T3 and T4. I hope tomorrow the temperature can be even hotter and we can fight for the first row."
Team-mate Ben Spies was still looking for the best set up for the Sachsenring track by the end of the afternoon session.
The American was fighting off a head cold and struggled to find a perfect pace in either the morning or afternoon practices and finished the day in seventh place.
“I didn't get my best shot at the track today, I've got a head cold which has left me a little fuzzy and makes it kind of hard to give it 100% and be on top form," said the Assen winner.
"The changing temperature from the morning to the afternoon also meant the track conditions were pretty different to set up for. I'm aiming for lots of sleep tonight and I'll be ready to come back stronger in the morning.”