KTM managed to show more pace on the final day of MotoGP pre-season testing, that was clear, but with Ducati continuing to dominate proceedings, Binder’s best effort was only enough for P9. 

Given seven of the eight riders that lapped faster were all aboard Ducati machinery, Binder’s time attack effort seemed to indicate that they’re in the ballpark with other manufacturers, although Aprilia have regularly shown more potential, especially over race trim at both Sepang and Portimao.

Still, Binder felt as though a big step forward was made following Saturday’s opening day which left the South African less than impressed. 

"We made a good step forward [on Sunday]," Binder told MotoGP.com. "We had to rethink things [on Saturday night] because of what we were doing, I wasn’t happy. The team did a great job to make me more comfortable, so I was able to push harder.

"We’re closer to where we need to be. I feel more comfortable on the bike, for sure. But there is definitely a step we can make before the race. We have some important data.

"We did a couple of time attacks. They went pretty good, better than expected. It seemed more comfortable on new tyres than old ones, which is normally the complete opposite for us. Clearly we have done something right in some areas. But we are missing in others.

"We aren’t super-far off. We closed more than a second off [from Saturday]. I’m ready to keep pushing."

For those in need of fine tuning their Sprint race potential, day-two at Portimao presented the perfect opportunity to assess where they stand.

Ducati have again led the way during most of the Sprint simulations, and while Binder believes tyre choices can make a big difference, the level he and KTM are at currently suggests more is still needed if he wants to challenge for wins.

"I tried to find my bearings for the first sprint race of the year," added Binder. "For me, it is clear that we’re not at the level that I want to be at. But we have time to sit down, analyse everybody who did one, and see what the right tyre choice is for next week."

Clearly pushing hard to close the gap, Binder’s day wasn’t without drama as he crashed twice, as did Alex Marquez.