Jorge Lorenzo continued his role as 'best of the rest' after Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner with third place during Friday free practice at Motegi.

The Fiat Yamaha rider, on pole at Motegi last season and third in the 2009 Qatar season opener, joined team-mate Rossi and title leader Stoner in heading the 45-minute session, which he eventually finished 0.420sec behind the #46.

"I'm so happy with this practice session because we often struggle a bit at the start of the weekend but today this wasn't the case at all and I felt great from the start," said the young Spaniard. "My M1 felt good when braking, under acceleration and in the corners so I think we are in good shape and now I hope we can continue like this tomorrow even if it rains, in fact I am quite curious to see what happens in the rain and how the lap time is."

"We've made a good start today and we're confident that we have a good base for this circuit, which is very different to Qatar," added team manager Daniele Romagnoli. "Because this could be the only dry session we worked to collect some extra data for the race to make sure that we're prepared if it's wet tomorrow and then dry on Sunday. We have made good use of this first session."

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