The order at the top of the timesheet stood unchanged at the end of the second day of the MotoGP test in Malaysia on Wednesday, with Dani Pedrosa leading Jorge Lorenzo by less than 2/100ths of a second and both Marc Márquez and Valentino Rossi in close proximity.
While lap times are often played down by teams and riders with the emphasis being placed on bike development and set-up, this was the confirmation that fans wanted after Tuesday's initial run: 2013 looks like being a fresh and exciting prospect with plenty to look forward to.
As expected the bar was raised as Pedrosa improved the best time of the test so far to 2m0.549s, with Lorenzo again hot on his tail. The pair were closely pursued by rookie Márquez who, although ending the day slightly further behind than on day one, was less than 0.3s off his Repsol Honda team-mate's top time. His form is impressing those sharing the track with him, and he was the only other rider to join the top two in getting under 2m01s.
Rossi's reacquaintance with the Yamaha M1 continued on a good footing, with the Italian just under half-a-second off the lead pace. He and Lorenzo were working on a new chassis for the 2013 M1, as well as an upgraded engine.
Only the final hour of the day was affected by rain, as another productive session of track time was used to full effect.
The major improvements in terms of lap times came further down the timesheet. Cal Crutchlow upped his fastest time by over 0.5s, Stefan Bradl also went quicker despite putting in fewer laps due to feeling ill, and rookie Bradley Smith on the Tech 3 Yamaha made a significant step forward, shaving 1.5s off his best lap time.
There were encouraging signs for the Ducati factory pairing of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso too, who by the end of yesterday were both over 2s off the pace. By the close of play on Wednesday Hayden was 1.5s off Pedrosa and Dovizioso 1.8s down on the Honda rider, as the team made headway on the Desmosedici.
Check out the full timesheet for the second day of the test here.