British rider Cal Crutchlow was second fastest in the final practice session for the opening MotoGP of the season.
The Tech 3 Yamaha rider has been tipped for consistent top-five finishes this season ahead of the race in Qatar.
Former world champion Jorge Lorenzo was fastest, beating current title holder Casey Stoner for the first time over the three practice sessions.
"I'm really happy to be second quickest, but I'm not going to get carried away," Crutchlow said.
"I think we can certainly be challenging for [the front row] but my expectations for the race on Sunday are to be battling for the top six and being closer to the leaders than last year.
"To be second and just over one-tenth behind Jorge is great for my confidence. My crew have done an awesome job, so hopefully we can be battling for a similar position tomorrow night in qualifying."
Lorenzo's lap in the final session was 1min 55.302 secs - the fastest across the two days of practice. Crutchlow was 0.154 secs behind with Repsol Honda rider Stoner third, 0.372 secs off Lorenzo's pace.
In Friday's first practice, riders battled strong winds and Dani Pedrosa avoided injury despite crashing out at 125mph. Stoner was fastest in that session, clocking 1min 55.960 secs, with Lorenzo second 0.214 secs behind. Crutchlow was eighth, coming after he was sixth in Thursday's first practice.
Qualifying is on Saturday before the race on Sunday.
In the Moto2 class, Scott Redding was fourth and fellow Briton Danny Kent sixth in Moto3.
FINAL PRACTICE MOTOGP QATAR, FASTEST TIMES
1 Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 1min 55.302
2 Cal Crutchlow (GB) Tech 3 Yamaha +0.154
3 Casey Stoner (AUS), Repsol Honda +0.372
4 Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Tech 3 Yamaha +0.603
5 Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda +0.812
6 Hector Barbera (ESP) Ducati +0.861
7 Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati +1.100
8 Valentino Rossi (ITA) Ducati +1.233
9 Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda +1.449
10 Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Gresini Honda +1.469