Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista encountered some front-end issues with his RC213V as the Spanish rider completed the first day of the night-time MotoGP test in Qatar in fourth place.
Bautista's fastest lap of 1m 56.081s was 0.695s behind Aleix Espargaro on the Open Yamaha, but he remains confident of making significant inroads over the weekend.
“After the good test at Sepang we were very confident ahead of this test in Qatar, even though I knew that this track would have been difficult for us, because in the last two years we have always found some problems,” said Bautista.
“Unfortunately, some problems were still here today, especially with regard to the front end.
“I'm struggling to stop the bike under braking and on corner entry my feeling is not so good. Regarding the rear end, we confirmed that the new Showa shock absorber works better than the previous one, but tomorrow we will also have to work in this area in order to find more grip,” he added.
“All in all, we remain confident: the track today was already in good condition, better than many other times, therefore lap times are already dropping quickly. Tomorrow we want to improve the bike to try to make the most of it.”
British rider Scott Redding was tenth fastest on the RCV1000R behind Aspar's Nicky Hayden, setting a best time of 1m 57.922s.
“Today it was really nice to ride my bike on a new track; also the conditions were pretty good compared to Malaysia, where there is a lot of humidity and really high temperatures.
“Now I feel good with my bike and I was happy with today's testing session. We need to improve a little bit the feeling with the front end, because when I went faster I started to push the front a lot, but we will work on this area tomorrow.
“Engine power is still not really good, but the situation is not so bad compared with the other 'Open' Honda machines,” Redding added.
“[The] brakes worked well from the first exit, so I'm happy with them. Tomorrow we will focus on improving the feeling with the front, and we will try to close the gap to the first Honda RCV1000R.”