Dani Pedrosa was untouchable on day one of the Jerez MotoGP test, the Repsol Honda rider breaking 0.6sec clear of nearest rival Valentino Rossi and 1.6sec away from third fastest Jorge Lorenzo.
The test, attended by all teams except Kawasaki and Suzuki (testing at Phillip Island instead) also marked the first time MotoGP machines had ridden on the new Jerez track surface, which was completely replaced in August.
The new asphalt received a glowing report from the riders - among them Pedrosa, who described it as "very grippy and smooth" - allowing the Spaniard to set a record-breaking pace despite cold and windy weather.
Pedrosa has two 2009 RC212V prototypes available for the test and was able to lap more than half a second inside his own record time, set during his runaway home victory in April's Spanish Grand Prix.
The engine and chassis changes made to the '09 prototype are 'designed to offer better controllability, in both engine and chassis performance'.
"Today we focused mainly on the engine, but the low temperatures meant that we started quite late this morning and stopped quite early this afternoon, so I need another day of testing to give a better evaluation of the latest engine configuration which is quite different from before," said Dani, now riding with a #3 on his bike.
"We also did some work on electronics, working to improve corner-entry performance and so on, but I think we need some more time on the motorcycle to really understand this latest engine configuration."
New team-mate Andrea Dovizioso ran some back-to-back tests between the 2009 prototype and a 2008 spec RCV. It was the first time the young Italian had tried the '09 and he finished the day seventh out of the 14 riders, with a best lap time just over two seconds behind Pedrosa.
"Conditions were not perfect this morning, it was very windy and very cold, but we need to find a good feeling with the bike because it's quite different to what I'm used to and we have many things to try and to adjust to my riding style, so we need to do a lot of laps, that's why we were first on track this morning!" said Dovi of his early start.
"I am happy because my feeling is coming better, though it's still not perfect, of course. We tried many different things today which improved my feeling, like adjusting the clutch, for example. We did three or four exits with the 2008 bike and then moved to the 2009 prototype machine, and the feeling was immediately much better, so we stayed focused on that bike.
"The whole package is better with the 2009 bike, everything is better, it feels more controllable. It is a good sign that the new prototype is better first time out. Tomorrow we will continue to work on adapting the bike for my style," he added.