The factory Honda riders ended the final week of preseason MotoGP testing in contrasting situations, as Andrea Dovizioso reveled in the team's recent progress but his teammate Dani Pedrosa continued to struggle.
Pedrosa has been unhappy with the new bike's handling for most of testing, and was only 13th in Friday night's Losail session. But Dovizioso was much happier and took third place behind Ducati's Casey Stoner and Yamaha's Valentino Rossi – lapping a second faster than Pedrosa.
"I'm really satisfied with these two days of testing because we took another significant step forward," said Dovizioso. "I'm pleased to have the third fastest time today because we improved both consistency and pace, which is a result of the hard work done by Honda and by my team.
"Today we focused on fine tuning the bike setup and also the weight distribution. At the end of the session we wanted to do a race simulation but the track was too slippery because of the high humidity. Still, we have reduced the gap to Stoner and we are closer to Valentino as well. Of course we have to keep on working hard, but I'm happy to face the first round of the season with the machine package we have achieved so far."
However Pedrosa said he was still far from satisfied with the bike and was concerned about his chances in the season opener next month.
"We started to make improvements early in tonight's session, but after that we couldn't make any more progress really and so, of course, I'm not satisfied with the results of this test," he said. "It's obvious that we're not where we want to be as we approach the first race, so we'll just have do our best when we come back here and try to make the improvements quickly in the practice sessions. That's it really.
"I'm still struggling with the bike moving quite a lot at the front and that's caused by issues at rear. Because of this I'm also going too slowly through the corners. We have to stay positive and be glad that I'm going into this season fully fit, and we'll keep working to improve things."