LCR Honda's Taka Nakagami was the surprise pace-setter at the end of the Jerez MotoGP test, beating works stablemate Marc Marquez to top spot by a fraction of a second using team-mate Cal Crutchlow's 2018-spec RC213V.
The Japanese rider used the Briton's racebike at the Valencia test while he recuperates from his Phillip Island crash and kept it for Jerez, where its improved usability was noticeable over the 2017 version Nakagami has been used to.
"The power delivery has improved a lot, especially middle to top you can feel more power. On the bottom end it feels a little more easy to ride, more sweet, and that's why with the used tyre the lap time is much more consistent than last year and with a high level. Many '38s, many low '39s," said Nakagami, speaking at the track.
"Here we've tried to focus on the rear grip. The set-up is improving and the feeling is better than yesterday. So it's quite simple to make a positive or negative and I'm really happy about the result.
"Especially the rear grip on exit of the corner. From the apex to the first part of turning and we'll try to keep working on this area.
"But anyway, at this moment I'm really happy about the package of the 2018 bike. I know Cal, Marc and Lorenzo use 2019 bikes, but it's not a big gap like 2017-2018. Maybe 2018-2019 is a much closer gap. So we will see for the future."