Andrea Dovizioso finished Friday free practice at Jerez in a satisfying, if familiar, fifth position.
Repsol Honda's new signing has finished the first two races of the season in fifth, but with further sunshine forecast, and new parts for his factory RC212V to work with, the former 125cc world champion is determined to move forward as the weekend progresses.
“Today the conditions of the track and the weather were perfect and I was able to ride fast from the beginning of the session,” said the 23-year-old Italian. “For part of the practice I was trying some new parts and I was impressed with the lap times I could do without a lot of set-up time. Time is very limited with only 45 minutes per session but we've found some potential. We need to do quite a lot of work to maximise this potential, but I'm satisfied of this first test session for Spanish Grand Prix."
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa was riding at Jerez for the first time this year, having missed the MotoGP pre-season test at the end of March as he recovered from surgery. The Spaniard finished the session in tenth place which, bearing in mind he won the race here last year, was lower than he would have hoped for in front of his home crowd.
Pedrosa encountered an electrical problem with one of his machines and he still has some set-up work to do. Dani's best Friday lap was 1.561sec behind Valentino Rossi's pace setting Yamaha.
“It's a good feeling to be back in Europe and especially to be riding at Jerez again. It's only Friday but there are already a lot of fans out on the banking so I know it's going to be another special weekend for the Spanish riders,” said Pedrosa. “The first session didn't go quite according to plan for us though and I think we can go faster than this tomorrow. We had an issue with one of my bikes and our general machine set-up still needs some work. The Bridgestone tyres seem to be working pretty well though, so set-up will be the main issue for us tomorrow."
“We've made some progress today, but at this moment there's still quite a big gap from us to the fastest riders, so we must improve rapidly,” added team manager Kazuhiko Yamano. “We have some ideas how to do this and we'll take what we learned today and work it into the plan for tomorrow's sessions."