Factory Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi continued to work on race set-up during a tricky second practice session on Friday evening in Qatar.
Strong winds pummelled the riders and blew sand onto the circuit, reducing grip levels.
As on Thursday, Rossi led much of the 45-minutes before being pushed back to third. The Italian's best Friday lap was 0.328s behind Honda pace setter Marc Marquez.
"Third position is pretty good, especially because we worked to find the right set-up for the race and because we were able to test the hard tyre,” said Rossi.
“Tyre choice, both front and rear, will be crucial on Sunday because both tyres options are not bad at all. We will see. Later tonight, in Free Practice 3, we will try to improve further. As far as my physical condition is concerned, now I am feeling much better. I am not yet 100% but it's definitely better than it was yesterday night [when Rossi had a severe headache]."
Reigning double champion Lorenzo, quickest on Thursday, was forced to settle for second place in FP2, 0.268s behind rookie Marquez.
"The session was pretty difficult,” said Lorenzo. “The track was dirty compared to yesterday and because of that it was really tough to improve the time we did yesterday. Right in the middle of the session the wind became so strong, but anyway we have a good pace for the race. We are fully focused on finding the right set-up for the race."
Rossi and Lorenzo, like many riders, were unable to beat their best Thursday lap time.
The top ten riders after FP3 will automatically gain a place in the second and final part of Saturday's new qualfying format.