Casey Stoner ended Friday practice for his home grand prix dissatisfied despite being a close second to Valentino Rossi on the timesheets.
The Australian's first run of the day put him a second clear of the rest of the pack, but he was beaten by Rossi soon afterwards, who went 0.6sec clear. Although Stoner chipped away at that margin and ended up only 0.135sec behind, he had expected a better performance from Ducati.
"I'm not that happy with today's session to be honest," said Stoner, who has won the last two MotoGP races at Phillip Island. The track conditions weren't good at all and we struggled for traction, which is usually a strong point of our bike.
"We tried a few different settings, one of which gave us better rear grip but compensated in turning, which was otherwise really good. The front end was quite consistent throughout so it's just a case of working on the rear tomorrow and hoping that the track conditions improve so that we can find where the limits are.
"The weather is always a worry here and there was a point in the session this afternoon where it began to spot with rain just as I was heading into turn one and I came back in. I probably had my best setting at that point so the lap time could have been better but I think it has been a difficult day for everybody so we're not too concerned."
His teammate Nicky Hayden failed to break into the top ten today, but was optimistic that he would pick up pace tomorrow.
"I came out of the gate pretty fast but found it difficult to improve from there and I'm not really happy to be this far off the pace," said Hayden after taking 11th. "In the past it has taken me a while to get up to speed here, even when I have had good results, so I'm not too worried but we definitely need to get the bike working better – especially over the bumps – and find some more edge grip. Hopefully we can take a big step tomorrow."