Cal Crutchlow stormed into third place during the second day of the Sepang MotoGP test, held in scorching conditions on Wednesday.
The Tech 3 Yamaha rider took full advantage of improved adhesion at the Malaysian circuit to post his fastest lap in 2m 00.907s as the temperatures soared beyond 30 degrees.
The British rider knocked 1.3s off his best time from Tuesday, when the test was cut short in the afternoon due to heavy rain.
Crutchlow only had factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda ace Dani Pedrosa ahead of him as he completed a satisfying day's work at Sepang.
The 27-year-old spent much of his time working on a set-up similar to that used by Lorenzo on the factory YZR-M1 in a bid to improve the agility of his satellite machine during fast directional changes.
Crutchlow, whose time was less than 0.3s behind Pedrosa, said: “There didn't seem to be a lot of grip out there again today although the lap times have improved a lot.
“We tried something different with the front fork setting, which was in a similar direction to what Jorge (Lorenzo) uses and there were some good and bad points like with most things you test.
“I'm happy with my pace because we've tried a couple of different settings and we need to work on fine-tuning the best one,” he added.
“The main goal has been trying to stop the front of the bike lifting so much when I change direction on the throttle.
“The bike feels quite heavy so we need to reduce how much the fork comes up without sacrificing too much in another area like the braking.”
Crutchlow was confident he could have improved his team further on fresh rubber at the start of the session.
“I'm sure if I had put in some new tyres at the start of the day I could have gone faster.
“But I waited to use mine around lunch and I still went faster, even though the track temperature was much higher at that point,” he said.
“I'm not really too concerned about the times though, I'm just concentrating on making the package we have got better for the first race in Qatar.”