Gino Rea declared himself delighted with progress made with the set-up of the Gresini Moriwaki Moto2 machine he will campaign in 2012 at the end of a three-day test at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
The former World Supersport winner ended in 23rd position overall with a best time of 1.43.486 that left him less than a second away from the top six.
He was actually poised to post a best time of 1.43.1 in the final session under clear blue skies in Jerez when he crashed unhurt at the final corner after clipping the back wheel of another rider in the braking zone.
That time would have elevated him to the fringes of the top 15, but he was satisfied with progress made in setting up the new 2012 Moriwaki chassis and Showa suspension.
Rea and Gresini Racing team-mate Ratthapark Wilairot are the only two in the 33-strong Moto2 field to be running Showa suspension and he told MCN: “This week has been positive in many ways and it was a lot better than the last test at Jerez.
"We are still trying to develop the chassis with the new Showa suspension and there is still a lot of development work to be done.
"We are quite a way behind because everybody has been fine-tuning their set-up since the start of the year while we are still trying to make big steps. But the progress we have made has been good. We have improved in every area, particularly with the steering and rear grip.
"At the last test I had a big problem with steering and pumping and chatter problems but this test we have got rid of that. We still need to work on rear grip but we are not far off.”
Explaining what happened in the final corner crash, which activated his Dainese airbag system, he said: “I was on a good lap and braked in my normal place and went to the outside and the other rider came across and I clipped their back wheel.
"If I had got round that corner it would have been a 43.1, and that would have been my best lap of the test. That would have put me close to the top 15 again and I’d have been happy with that.”