Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro feels the Suzuki GSX-RR is capable of enabling him to battle for the top eight as the bike stands in its current guise.

Espargaro is still lacking outright power with the Suzuki, but has gained some extra speed compared to the previous MotoGP test at Sepang and is satisfied with the progress he has made so far.

The Spanish rider was ninth fastest on Tuesday, lapping in 2m 00.409s as he finished only half a second down on Repsol Honda' Marc Marquez.

Related Articles

"Day by day we have reduced the gap to the top riders so we must be proud of this. The pace in the long run when we put in some laps was not that bad so we are making improvements," Espargaro said.

"We have something that is a little bit better than the last test [more top end speed], no so much, but it is a small step and also I know better the bike, I know better the team and we are riding more to the limit. At this track everybody is closer but I am quicker and I think that really we are improving a lot.

"Basically it is the same engine with something really small and we have gained a couple of 'ks' in top speed and also the engine accelerates a little bit better. We need more power and that is the main issue right now; we are waiting for the power but we need time and we need to be patient," he added.

"After five days [counting first Sepang test] everybody is really close and I think I am one tenth back on third or fourth; we have a lack of power but even like this we are really close so let's say that we are ready to battle for top eight."

Espargaro has experimented with two different frames on the Suzuki and is also working on adapting his riding style to the GSX-RR.

"We tried a couple of new frames, one worked and one didn't; the problem is that the bike is small and I am tall but I think we have found one that works," he said.

"In the right corners I need to lean a little more my body to help the bike turn and I am trying this, but it is not very easy because you need also to change the balance of the bike.

"I think it helps the bike a lot and we have made good steps to help to understand more how to do it for MotoGP."