Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez bettered his fastest lap in Qatar but had to settle for second place on the timesheets behind Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso.

Reigning MotoGP world champion Marquez lapped in 1m 55.091s as he dipped under the circuit lap record set by Casey Stoner of 1m 55.153s in 2008, but ended the second day of the final pre-season test 0.184s behind Dovizioso.

Marquez admitted that the Ducati pace is real, their lap times set without resorting to the special Open class soft tyre that Ducati, Suzuki and Aprilia have access to.

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"I believe they're [Ducati] not using the extra-soft tyre to avoid creating a scare, because their lap-times would quickly drop by one second!" the official MotoGP website quotes Marquez as saying.

Marquez was pleased with his own searing lap speed, but took more satisfaction from his overall race pace.

"I'm happy that we improved our fastest lap, but above all I'm pleased with our overall pace, which is the most important thing," he said.

"We have also gained confidence with the front end thanks to a change to the geometry, which was something we had been finding difficult at this circuit.

"Tomorrow we will continue our programme, focusing on the rear in order to see if we can find more grip, but the overall verdict is positive so far and I feel confident."

Commenting on his likely 2015 rivals, Marquez said: "It's clear that our rivals are the Yamaha riders and Dani, they are our rivals for the championship.

"At some specific point, the Ducati will be there at the front but they have this 'handicap' of losing some of their [Open class] advantages if they get good results.

"So yeah, I know who my rivals are and who I have to keep a close eye on."

The test concludes on Monday as the countdown to the opening round of the 2015 world championship on March 29 under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit gathers pace.