There was finally some light at the end of the tyre-wear tunnel for Valentino Rossi during Friday practice for the Andalucia MotoGP.

After struggling yet again with rear tyre overheating issues during last Sunday's Spanish season-opener, before an engine failure while in tenth place, a return to the same track for this weekend's Andalucia round offered the golden opportunity to try some new ideas.

And, while naturally cautious after being plagued by tyre endurance woes for so long, the first signs were promising.

"For Valentino, we prepared a different set-up that he liked straight away, and it gives him the feeling that he was missing during the last weekend," said team director Massimo Meregalli. "Thanks to this he could ride the bike in a manner that he‘s more comfortable with."

The progress showed instantly in the classification, with Rossi second fastest to Monster Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales in Free Practice 1.

But the most important test would come during the scorching afternoon heat of FP2.

That session saw Rossi stick with used rear tyres, a soft and then medium, eventually setting the eighth best lap time on a medium that had done 28 laps. Well over a full race distance.

"Yes, we tried to work always with used tyres this afternoon," Rossi confirmed. "I think first of all this weekend the track condition is better so the choice will be more open between the soft and medium rear.

"But for me personally I have a good feeling today because we changed the setting in the bike and I feel more comfortable. I can ride better and I was fast on the race pace and the time attack.

"In the afternoon I suffer always a bit more, but anyway it looks like we are stronger than last week.

"As always, tomorrow morning will be crucial. It will be very important to find the right spot to make the right lap time to stay in the top 10. We‘ll have to try. We have to work because in some corners I‘m not fantastic. But anyway, it was a positive day."