The Spaniard's main focus was on the electronics and traction control in the opening Free Practice session.
After using the hard tyre for a few laps, the soft tyre was used for the single fast-lap which saw him climb to third position with a time of 1'55.685; just 0.404-second from leader Marc Marquez.
Team-mate Maverick Vinales used his time similarly but issues with the electronics on his GSX-RR machine made hime change to the second bike which was equipped with a different set-up.
The 20-year-old Spaniard struggles on the second bike and finished FP1 in 17th position with a time of 1'56.922.
GP OF QATAR – FREE PRACTICE 1 RESULTS:
1. Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team) 1'55.281
2. Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) 1'55.357 0.076
3. Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) 1'55.685 0.404
4. Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) 1'55.698 0.417
5. Cal CRUTCHLOW (CWM LCR Honda) 1'55.818 0.537
6. Danilo PETRUCCI (Pramac Racing) 1'55.939 0.658
7. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team) 1'55.980 0.699
8. Yonny HERNANDEZ (Pramac Racing) 1'56.139 0.858
9. Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) 1'56.162 0.881
10. Andrea IANNONE (Ducati Team) 1'56.315 1.034
17. Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) 1'56.922 1.641