Marco Melandri is confident that his progress on the sole Hayate Kawasaki will continue after his sixth position at last weekend's Japanese MotoGP race.
The Italian nearly equalled the two fifth positions the works team had throughout the whole of 2008.
The former 250cc champion is working on engine braking electronics to settle the bike into the corners at Jerez, getting a ninth place in this afternoon's free practice.
"We improve but we still have to work," said Melandri. "We try to modify (the bike) but we have many things to set up the engine braking system. We try to disconnect one system to understand if it's working and then we understand we have to modify the one we disconnect. We now know where we have to work."
Asked if he felt rejuvenated after last weekend's result, he said: "It was nice last week to be back. It was great to overtake and have fun, so I feel confident day by day.
"Here it is going to be very hard race because the tyres drop down after a few laps because it's quite hot, but I think we can improve a lot with the bike we have now with the set-up. I'm happy because the team is working good and they are good guys. We have fun."
He added: "Everyone just wants to improve day by day now - it's like a family. We have no press guy, nothing, so it's fun. Every time I go in the garage I suggest something to my crew chief and he's the owner; we can do anything we want!"
After a terrible 2008 as team-mate to Casey Stoner in the Ducati team, Melandri was written off by many, but this doesn't bother him.
"No, I don't care. They (Ducati) know about things. They look at the standings and they have the answer for themselves. I don't need to call anybody."