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Fernando Alonso buoyed by 'very good day' with Honda upgrade

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Fernando Alonso says McLaren ticked off everything it wanted to do with Honda's upgrade on Friday in Malayisa, declaring its introduction "a good day".

Alonso took on the new specification of Honda engine the Japanese manufacturer spent two tokens on ahead of this weekend. Though the new engine also came with a 30-place grid penalty, the Spaniard will not use it on Saturday or Sunday, with McLaren exploiting a loophole (set to be closed in 2017) meaning he can use it as-good-as-new without punishment for Honda's home race in Japan.

The Spaniard looked more competitive throughout the day, finishing fifth in FP1 and then seventh in the qualifying simulations in the afternoon.

"We managed to complete a good number of laps and do all the tests we had planned for today, including some parts already for next years car, so it was a very good day in that way," Alonso said. "Now we'll see how to approach the rest of the weekend, particularly in FP3, as we'll be doing long runs to prepare for the race."

With a hefty grid penalty on its way Alonso then explained why he is unlikely to be a prominent figure in qualifying on Saturday.

"Qualifying will be very short for me -- I'll do just one timed lap, to get within 107 per cent of the pole time and then I'll watch the rest of the action on TV! Then I'll save as many new tyres as possible for the race to attack from start to finish."

Alonso thinks teammate Jenson Button, running the old specification of engine Alonso will switch back to but without a penalty, can make the top-ten shootout.

"I think with Jenson the team can fight for Q3. Hopefully I can join him in the points at the end of the race. We are expecting rain, I don't know if it will come for qualifying or for the race, but whenever it comes it will help us. So there's all to play for, today was a good day, because we did a lot of laps and the things we tried worked well."