Having been 'a little upset' not to beat his November lap time on the opening day of the Jerez MotoGP test, Power Electronics Aspar rider Randy de Puniet was a lot happier after upping the pace despite slipper conditions on day two.
The private Jerez test is being attended by a handful of the new-for-2012 CRT class entries, plus the Ducati Test Team.
Of the four Claiming Rule Teams - Aspar, Speed Master, PBM and Ioda - all but Ioda are using the full Aprilia (ART) bike.
de Puniet, a double podium finishers for Kawasaki and LCR in MotoGP, has unsurprisingly set the ART pace since the projects inception, but was disappointed to set a 1m 41.6sec best with the latest developments on Monday's opening day.
But the Frenchman went on to lower his best lap time by 0.7sec despite low grip conditions on day two, as he finished 1.1sec clear of next best Mattia Pasini (Speed Master).
"I am very happy because we have improved our best time by seven tenths and in addition we have also made significant progress, especially with the electronics,” said de Puniet. “We worked hard on the traction control and engine management to optimize both power delivery and engine braking.
“It's strange because, although the weather conditions were good, I think today the asphalt had less grip than yesterday. Although we improved we cannot rest and tomorrow will continue to see where we can improve and aim to go faster again.”
de Puniet is now within two-seconds of the official Jerez MotoGP lap record, a 1m 39.731s by Honda's Dani Pedrosa in 2010.
His team-mate Aleix Espargaro was feeling physically better after his day one fever, but is struggling for front-end feel and suffered two small falls on his way to third, 1.7sec behind de Puniet.
"Yesterday I took something to reduce the fever and slept for twelve hours, so today I woke up feeling better,” he began. “This morning we got to work but the truth is that today I have not felt as comfortable as I did in the last test at Valencia [in late January].
“We have worked hard with the geometry of the bike to gain confidence in the front because I cannot turn as I would like or go fast enough in the corners. I went off track twice, because of the lack of feeling, but I could continue working as normal.
“But we are not discouraged and tomorrow we will work to try to improve."
Ioda's Danilo Petrucci and PBM's James Ellison, making their debuts at the test, were fourth and fifth on the Tuesday timesheets.
Ducati did not release a lap time for Karel Abraham, who suffered a fiery fall that could prevent fellow satellite race rider Hector Barbera from riding the bike on Wednesday.