Fresh from a promising performance by the Aprilia CRT bike in a private test at Jerez, Colin Edwards
gave MotoGP's new privateer class a further boost by slashing the time difference to the top during the second Sepang test.
While the Aprilia teams have skipped the two official pre-season tests to date, Edwards' NGM Mobile Forward Racing (Suter-BMW) team and Avintia Racing (FTR-Kawasaki) have attended both Malaysian visits alongside the twelve manufacturer machines.
Double World Superbike champion Edwards, a twelve-time podium finisher in MotoGP, has the best record of any CRT rider and the 38-year-old Texan's lap times have been watched closely in comparison with the manufacturer bikes.
Edwards had been 5.115sec off the pace of Honda's Casey Stoner
and 2.504sec behind the slowest of the manufacturer race riders at the first test, but cut those times down to 3.208sec and 2.072sec during this week's second official test.
To put that into perspective, 2.601sec covered the 17-rider grid during qualifying for last October's race, when all competitors were using manufacturer bikes.
Another sign that Edwards and Suter are far from their ultimate potential was that Edwards improved on his best lap time at the first test by 1.041sec, while those at the front went slower at Sepang II.
Developments for the electronics, chassis and engine occupied Edwards' time over the three days, when he completed a total of 78 laps of the Malaysian Grand Prix circuit.
"To be honest, it was frustrating for two days and finally on the last day, we were working with the throttle connection and we found something. In that respect, it was a good test,” said Edwards.
“In terms of the electronics I don't think we will reach the final stage of development of the electronics until the last race in Valencia: we are going to be working on them the whole time.