After last year's qualifying woes, Alex Rins has more justification than most in fitting new tyres for a time attack during MotoGP pre-season testing.

Fresh rubber and low fuel duly helped Rins snatch the top spot in the closing minutes of day one at the Qatar test, outpacing team-mate Joan Mir by just 0.002s for a Suzuki one-two.

That performance followed hot on the heels of an impressive opening test of the year at Sepang, where the GSX-RR looked to be challenged only by Yamaha's Maverick Vinales in terms of race pace.

Already satisfied with the latest engine, Rins spent the opening day in Qatar comparing chassis as well as working on the fairing and front forks.

“I did one time attack right at the end of the day just to see how it would go, I was a little scared because the temperature and humidity were dropping a bit, but the time was there so I'm happy about this and how the day went" said Rins, who set an impressive pace at the opening Sepang test.

"We tried a lot of things today and did lots of back-to-back comparisons, so that leaves me with a good feeling. Tomorrow we’ll continue this type of work.”

Mir may have been denied the top spot but was arguably even more impressive than Rins, having appeared at the head of the timesheets several times during the day.

“We've improved the pace and then when we put the new tyre it's much better. So at the end the lap times came easier," Mir said. "I’m quite happy because I felt strong and confident all day," Mir said. "There are still two more days to go and we have to continue improving and working.

"The track is a bit slippery, but it’s not as bad as I expected, and I was happy to set a good time and spend so much of the day at the top of the timesheets - it’s important and a good feeling, the consistency is crucial and it’s a good result.”

Testing continues on Sunday and concludes on Monday night.