Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso was satisfied with his opening day of running at Phillip Island, but reckons MotoGP title rival Marc Marquez will be "very difficult to beat".
Dovizioso was third and fourth in the two sessions, ending up less than a tenth shy of Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro in the second session.
"I expected to be competitive, but we did a little bit more, so really happy about that," said Dovizioso, who complained about his bike's speed in the middle of the corners.
"Immediately from the first action this morning I felt quite good so happy about that."
However, the Italian reckons Honda man Marquez, who was quickest in the morning and second behind Espargaro in FP2, is the man to beat.
"At the moment, yes [he is the favourite], but it would be strange if it wasn't like this so I'm not surprised," Dovizioso said of Marquez.
"Happy about the feeling with the bike but it's not enough, Marc confirmed what we expected, he is very competitive here, he is very consistent so it will be very difficult to beat him.
"He is not too far so I'm really happy about that and we have to continue to work in the same way because today we improve a little bit."
Marquez meanwhile was happy with his own Friday performance, but was wary of Dovizioso's performance as well.
"In FP1 we started in a good way, we started with a good pace, setup, and I was feeling really good on the bike," said the points leader.
"Then in the afternoon maybe we lost little bit the way, but then we come back with that we had in FP1. The problem is, also Dovi started a good way, in FP1 he was very fast already.
"What makes me strong is maybe left corners. Normally in a left-corner circuit I'm very fast."
Marquez, is optimistic he can significantly improve on Saturday, as he mainly targets improving stability on his works Honda.
"For tomorrow, we believe that we can improve a lot, especially on the stability of the bike on the fast corners," he said. "But at the moment it was quite unstable."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont