Sunday evening probably can't come soon enough for Valentino Rossi and Ducati, who have struggled all weekend at their home Misano round.
The San Marino Grand Prix is the most local of Rossi's two home races, and the seven-time MotoGP champion will again need the kind of race-day recovery seen earlier in the year at Mugello.
Rossi rode from twelfth on the grid - after a rain-interrupted qualifying - to sixth at Mugello. The Doctor will start eleventh at Misano, having been outside the top ten all weekend and out-qualified by satellite Ducati rider Hector Barbera.
But Rossi insists progress has been made and the situation is not quite as bad as it looks.
“Today went a bit better. We changed the set-up a little compared to yesterday, and then we stuck with that, making small steps," he said.
"There were no longer parts of the track where I lost a lot of time compared to the others, as we reached a steady level around the entire lap, although of course we're still not as fast as we'd like to be.
"I was a little unfortunate on what would have been my fast lap, because after three good sectors, I came upon de Puniet going slow in the final hairpin before the last two left-handers, and there alone I lost half a second.
"Otherwise I could have done a 1min 34.0 and started from the third row, which is what we had set out to do. Anyway, I'm not too bad in terms of pace, so we'll see what we can do in the race tomorrow.”
Team-mate Nicky Hayden will start just 15th on the grid.
“This morning wasn't bad to start with. I had used tyres from yesterday and was able to find a rhythm and do some decent laps. As has been the case lately though, things got worse in the afternoon," he explained.
"I was pushing the front, and I had a lot of front chatter, even with the soft tyres. It's tough for Ducati here at their home, with the team trying hard and all the fans wanting to see us do something.