Sylvain Guintoli feels it is time he and the Pata Honda team 'step it up a bit' at the Buriram United International Circuit after finishing sixth fastest during Friday practice.

The reigning World Superbike champion made significant lap time improvements in the afternoon session as the teams got to grips with the new Thai circuit, which is hosting its first ever WSBK event.

The 32-year-old posted a quick lap of 1m 35.570s, ninth-tenths of a second off timesheet topper Alex Lowes, and feels the Honda CBR1000RR is starting to close the gap on its Kawasaki and Suzuki rivals.

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"We made some good improvements after the morning session so that was a positive this afternoon and the bike felt much better," Guintoli said. "We need to carry on working there but I'm enjoying the track and we've closed the gap. We can't do damage limitation every race so we need to try to step it up a bit now."

The French rider is still recovering from heavy falls at the season opener at Phillip Island and says he is improving with every session.

"I'm trying hard now and feeling a lot better physically than I did in Australia. I can still feel the injury but it's a lot better and I'm a lot more focused and more hungry here."

On an eventful afternoon, the Pata Honda rider spent the whole of free practice two on one set of tyres after forgetting to come in for fresh rubber with just minutes remaining in the session.

"It was funny this afternoon because I was supposed to come in to try some different tyres but as I was coming into pit lane I was thinking about the lines through sector three and missed my garage entry," Guintoli said. "I went straight out again and saw that the session was nearly finished, so there wasn't much point coming in for new tyres.

"So, although I didn't plan it, I ended up doing the whole session on one set of tyres. We'll try the soft option tomorrow."