Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso believe their team made great strides during the first MotoGP preseason test at Sepang, even though Honda ended up behind Yamaha and Ducati on the time sheets.
Valentino Rossi was fastest for Yamaha on both days in Malaysia, with Dovizioso sixth in both sessions and Pedrosa only eighth on Thursday before improving to fourth today.
Dovizioso still reckons Honda is in much better shape than it was last year – and that the Sepang times are not a true indication of teams' form.
"I leave Sepang feeling positive and I'm confident for the next test because we have clear ideas about the direction we have to follow," he said. "Today we worked on the suspension and tested some setup options – with positive results.
"I'm happy because, thanks to the electronics, the package has improved in all aspects – but there is still a job to do. In particular, we need to take another step forward regarding the balance. I'm confident that we can work on this at the next test session here in Sepang.
"Today we were always running on hard tires and we didn't look for ultimate lap times. I think the next Sepang test will be more indicative about our true pace."
Pedrosa said his mediocre position in Thursday's results was due to his rustiness rather than the bike's competitiveness.
"Yesterday, it took me longer to get into a rhythm on the machine because it was the first day back in the saddle, but today it was much better – though I'm not at 100 percent yet," he said.
The Spaniard shared Dovizioso's satisfaction with today's achievements.
"We got through a lot more testing today and I can say that we improved significantly – and that's important in terms of finding a good direction to follow," said Pedrosa. "We were working mainly on the rear suspension and we've managed to collect a lot of data that should help us for the next test here in two weeks' time. We were also testing swing-arms and, at the end of the day, I could feel the improvements, and so I'm happy about that.
"I haven't asked for new parts because me and the team think it's better to analyze what we've found here and focus on that. I'm going home satisfied."