Rizla Suzuki team-mates Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen benefitted from a new chassis to secure third and sixth positions on the combined Friday practice timesheets at Misano.
Capirossi began the day on the standard chassis, but felt an immediate improvement with the new design - tested after the last race at Brno.
The Italian, who will set a new record for grand prix starts on Sunday, improved on his lap-times consistently to eventually finish just 0.153secs behind championship leader Valentino Rossi, with Casey Stoner a further 0.418secs clear.
"I am really happy with the way things went this afternoon because this morning things didn't go quite right at the start and the bike didn't work so well," began Loris, third last time out at Brno. "We then changed to the new chassis and it was better straight away. We made sure we set it up the best we could and I am really happy with how it worked! I am sure we will all improve tomorrow, and in the race, and that we can carry on the great run the team is having!"
Vermeulen was just under 0.4secs slower than Capirossi and spent some of his time adapting the new chassis to its Bridgestone tyres.
Rather than seek tyres designed specifically for the characteristics of the GSV-R, Suzuki's tactic now seems to be to adapt the new chassis to run the same tyres used so effectively by Rossi and Stoner.
"The bike worked pretty good straight out of the crate and some of the new parts we tested at Brno worked well here," said Chris. "I am really happy with the way Suzuki has worked to make the bike more competitive and it feels like we have taken a big step forward today.
"We've changed some things to get the tyres working well with the new frame and that is all now coming together. We tried a new rear tyre towards the end of the session and I was happy with the grip and consistency," he stated. "Tomorrow we have a few more chassis set-up changes and the aim is to qualify on at least the front two rows."
"It's been a really positive first day for the whole team in Misano and it's been a great relief to find that the improvements that were found at the Brno test were confirmed by both riders during the sessions today," enthused team manager Paul Denning.
"Thanks must also go to Suzuki for letting the riders use what are essentially prototype parts here this weekend, and although it's not the complete answer, it's definitely a step forward."