Dani Pedrosa finished Friday's wet free practice sessions for the Aragon MotoGP between Yamaha riders Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo.
The Repsol Honda star, whose title hopes were badly damaged by a DNF last time at Misano, was just 0.066s behind Spies - and 0.461s ahead of championship leader Lorenzo.
Pedrosa, who set the quickest top speed of the day, had earlier joined the rest of the Honda and Yamaha riders in skipping the damp morning session.
“At least we had a full wet session this afternoon to work with the bike and I felt quite good,” said the Spaniard.
“I was catching the pace step by step, even though the grip was not very high in the rear, and we still have to adjust the setting a little more to improve in some corners.
“It looks like the weather forecast is also bad for tomorrow, so it will be important to take advantage of the morning practice to be well prepared for qualifying".
Pedrosa is facing a 38-point gap to Lorenzo with five rounds to go.
Stand-in team-mate Jonathan Rea was eleventh quickest.