Factory Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies both topped the timesheets on their way to second and fourth places on Friday's opening day of testing at Jerez.
It marked the first opportunity for the pair to test the latest evolution of the 1000cc M1 at a track other than Sepang - and their strong pace appeared to confirm that there is little separating the official Hondas and Yamahas.
Spies was the first rider to break under the 1'm 40s barrier on Friday, with former champion Lorenzo soon doing likewise to head the session. The Spaniard looked set to remain on top until Honda's world champion Casey Stoner moved 0.273sec ahead in the last half an hour.
“Today was a very long day because we started at 10am and finished at 6pm. We did a lot of laps and it was very interesting to see how different the bike was compared to Sepang because it's a different track,” said Lorenzo.
“Here it is much slower and more corners, not so many straights. The 1000cc is not so easy compared to the 800cc here. At the end of the day we were able to be very fast and stay in the first three positions so we are satisfied.”
Spies wrapped up the day in fourth having completed a race simulation. The Texan's best lap was 0.838sec from Stoner.
“Today was a positive day; we actually got more than we thought accomplished,” said Spies. “We were able to look at the two tyres Bridgestone wanted us to test and also went through a couple of different settings on the bike. We did a race simulation to get one out of the way and we might do one more before the end of the test just to get me and the bike in tune for that many laps.
“Today's was to test the fuel consumption and we were happy with that. We can now focus pretty much on going fast and trying to improve the bike lap time wise and also improve me around the track! This isn't a strong track for me so I'm quite happy that we've shown some decent pace around here. We've got a lot done and it's been a good day.”
MotoGP pre-season testing ends at Jerez on Sunday evening.