LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl lowered his best lap time by 1.4s during day two of MotoGP testing at Austin, Texas.
That propelled the German into second place with a few hours of Wednesday track time remaining, before improvements by Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo bumped him back to fourth.
Bradl finished the day 0.787s behind former Moto2 rival Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), having halved his distance to the top relative to day one.
“This morning we struggled a bit in the breaking areas, which is unusual for my riding style and my bike set-up. After some adjustments we have found an improvement and I was able to go faster and faster,” Bradl explained.
“In my flying laps on new soft tyres I was not enough precise because we had low grip. However I was very consistent throughout the day and we have found two base set-ups to develop.”
Bradl will join Marquez and Pedrosa for the final day, which Yamaha has opted to miss.