Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez hailed a great job on the set-up of his RC213V after 'finding something' during the second day of private testing at Misano.
The Repsol Honda rider beat his best Wednesday time, already well below the official records, by 0.3s at the newly resurfaced circuit.
But it was progress with the feeling of his RCV that impressed Marquez the most. The young Spaniard has switched back to a 2014 chassis for the past two rounds, after battling to control rear-wheel slides under hard braking.
"I'm happy with these past two days, we have done a great job on the set-up and now I feel more comfortable,” he said. “Especially this morning when the temperature was a little bit lower we were able to find something that has improved my feeling and now we will have to see if this will work also in the coming circuits.”
Riding alongside fellow factory riders from Suzuki and Ducati, plus Pramac's Danilo Petrucci, Marquez and team-mate Dani Pedrosa also completed their first laps on the 2016 Honda.
Marquez and Pedrosa were again using this year's Bridgestone tyres, but will switch to the 2016 Michelins for Friday's final day.
“I also tried the 2016 prototype finding something good, but we will test it again tomorrow with next year's tyres to give the HRC engineers more data to work with,” Marquez confirmed.
“In the afternoon the track temperature was really too hot, but I am happy with the pace I was able to keep even in these circumstances. A big thanks to HRC and my team for the great job done! Tomorrow one more tough day and then we will deserve some days off!"
Marquez claimed his second victory of the year at the Sachensring on Sunday, but his earlier woes mean he is 64 points behind Valentino Rossi, albeit with nine rounds remaining...
Pedrosa, runner-up in Germany, is still using a 2015 chassis - although not the same specification as Marquez has abandoned. Having missed three rounds earlier this season due to arm pump surgery, the #26 welcomed the track time to refine his set-up.
"It's been two hard but productive days of testing,” said Pedrosa, who improved his lap time by a fraction with a Thursday best of 1m 32.66s. “We are happy as we have been able to work a lot on the current bike to find a set-up that can be a good base for the coming GPs. It has been a very hard job as the temperature was really hot but I am happy.
“I also did a couple of exits with the prototype of the 2016 bike. It was important to give to the engineers some feedback about the direction we are heading. Tomorrow we will test it again with 2016 tyres as this bike will have to work on them!"
While the 2016 bike has a new chassis, it is currently powered by a 2015 engine.
The official reason is so that the new chassis can be checked before any changes are made to the engine - Honda being unsurprisingly cautious after the late discovery of braking issues with this year's bike - but it also means the '2016' RCV, as being tested at Misano, is technically eligible to race this year.
Due to their existing Bridgestone contracts, riders are not able to publicly comment on any testing done with Michelin tyres.
Thursday lap times:
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1m 32.0s
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 32.5s
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1m 32.66s
4. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1m 32.7s
4. Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) 1m 32.7s
6. Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) 1m 32.8s