Ben Spies insists he is looking much more competitive than sixth and 0.8s off the pace in Friday's Motegi practice sessions might appear.
“Today wasn't bad, the second session was a bit slow in the beginning but we got going pretty well in the end. We didn't try the soft rear but focused on trying to make the hard tyre work in case it's the race tyre,” said Spies.
“I think it's unlikely as everyone who went out faster than us at the end was on the softer option, so to be eight tenths off on the hard is not so bad. I think with the soft we'll see a true result of where we can be and what the bike is capable of.”
Spies' Factory Yamaha team-mate and title leader Jorge Lorenzo was second fastest on timesheets led by Honda's Dani Pedrosa.