Casey Stoner believes Ducati continued to reduce Yamaha's Catalunya advantage during qualifying today, but admitted that his team still has more work to do if it wants to challenge Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi in the race.
The Yamaha pair have dominated every session so far this weekend, with Stoner having to settle for third - 0.4s down on pole-sitter Lorenzo - in qualifying.
The Australian said Ducati had taken a step backwards in final practice, but was now heading in the right direction again.
"This afternoon was a big step for us," said Stoner. "We were quite confident on Friday. We thought we were going to be able to improve the bike enough to close the gap a bit more and then a bit more again.
"But we just increased the gap this morning, everything we did with the bike seemed to make it a little bit worse. So we were really struggling. We couldn't understand why we couldn't do anything.
"We changed both bikes completely this afternoon and got them both a little bit further up the pace. But we still need a little bit more work before the race. Tomorrow the warm-up is going to be important for us."
He is optimistic that Ducati will be in good shape to cope if the race day weather is as sweltering as the conditions in qualifying.
"No one really knows what anyone's capable of in conditions like this because once the tyres start spinning it's going to be difficult to keep the lap times that we're doing today," said Stoner.
"It's going to be a very interesting race with a lot of slides and things like that.
"But some of the things we tried on the bike today I think will help us for these situations at the end of the race. We'll see what we're capable of."