Alvaro Bautista assumed the top spot on day two of the Qatar MotoGP test after making progress with front-end feel on his Gresini Honda.
Bautista's fastest lap of 1m 55.194s was 0.7s quicker than he managed during qualifying for the Qatar MotoGP in 2013.
His time was 0.314s ahead of fellow Honda rider Stefan Bradl on the LCR machine, and Bautista was pleased overall with his performance at the Losail circuit, which hosts the opening MotoGP round on March 23.
“I'm very happy about the fastest time: my sensations on the bike are better than yesterday and my feeling with the front is improved, although some problems still remain,” he said.
“This track, after all, has always been a bit tricky for us. We're still not one hundred per cent, but tomorrow we can take advantage of one last day of testing to try to make another step forward.
“There are two options: trying a significant change, that means to take a different direction, or keeping the good base reached today and try to refine it,” added Bautista.
“With the regard to the race pace, today I managed to go through a lot of laps under the 1m 57s mark, but these results are not significant because today I was trying every time different adjustments on the bike.
“Tomorrow we will try a proper long run, in order to understand where we are ahead of the first Grand Prix.”
British rider Scott Redding set a best time of 1m 57.154s on the RCV1000R to finish tenth and less than two tenths of a second behind the leading Open Honda of Nicky Hayden in ninth position.
“Today the feeling with the bike was better than yesterday: we worked a lot on the front, which now gives me more confidence when turning, together with an improved braking stability,” Redding said. “This is helping me a lot to be more consistent.”