Dani Pedrosa moved from 14th to 13th to 4th during the three days of official MotoGP testing at Sepang.
That progression reflected clear steps made with the new ('big bang' style) Honda engine, of which a different specification was available, although the Spaniard warned some issues can only be solved back at HRC headquarters in Japan.
"Today we did an improvement and we could use the track for more laps because it didn't rain and the grip was good, so we could feel more things about the bike and be more precise with the comments. We did some steps forward," said Pedrosa.
"Overall, I would say it was a positive test because we didn't start in the best position. We had a lot of little issues here and there. But we could fix some issues and start to improve the feeling. The bike - from where we start to where we finish - is a clear step forward.
"As well with the team, because some guys are new and in Valencia they didn't have time to get going in the perfect way obviously. Here, with three days, we've had time on track and time in the box. So the job by the team was also positive."
Asked if he had a clear favourite among the engine specs tested, the Spaniard replied:
"We still have to do meetings with Honda, they must check a lot of data. Obviously they have to provide material for the whole season and they need to know exactly what they can do in this time.
"Like I said, we had some issues - they still need to check and go back to Japan to completely fix the issues, some electronic, some here and there. We could do some steps these days but we could not completely fix.
"We still have to do the briefing of the three days and see what they can bring to the next test and what they can change, which parts they can build."
Former MotoGP title runner-up Sete Gibernau was again assisting Pedrosa by providing trackside observations.
"Sometimes you have a problem - like electronic problem - and you say 'after Turn 2 shifting', or 'wheelie here', 'moving, grip' or whatever," Pedrosa explained, when quizzed on Gibernau's input. "And then the computer guy has to change something with the gearbox or mapping, and they cannot maybe understand exactly what is happening.
"So [Sete] watching on track and comparing with some other riders then coming back to the box - it is easier to explain to the guy where to look in the data, what to change and which step we need to take."
Team-mate and reigning world champion Marc Marquez set the second fastest lap time, behind Yamaha's Maverick Vinales, but was less than 0.1s quicker than Pedrosa.
By Peter McLaren