Dani Pedrosa was happy with the third fastest lap time during Friday practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix - and unconcerned by the half-second gap to Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner.

"I'm happy with how this first practice session has gone and we've established a good base for the weekend," said the Repsol Honda rider, who has qualified on pole at Sepang for the past two years and finished second to Valentino Rossi in the 2008 race.

"As expected, it was really hot out there and the first session for this grand prix is always the toughest because it takes a little time to acclimatise. By Sunday, the heat will no problem.

"The track was a little dirty which affected the grip, but that's also normal for Sepang and it will improve through the weekend. The lap times are already quite competitive because we test at this circuit and all the teams have plenty of set-up data even before we arrive.

"I'm not worried about being half a second back from the fastest time at this stage - it's not so important and we have some areas to work on to improve things," he continued. "To achieve good stability under braking is the key area for us and we'll be working to make some improvements to the set-up for tomorrow."

Separating Pedrosa and sixth placed team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was title leader Rossi. Dovizioso, who claimed his first MotoGP podium in Team Scot colours at Sepang last year, was 0.384s behind Pedrosa and only 0.278sec from Rossi.

"I'm satisfied with this first practice session," said the Italian. "I like this circuit very much, I feel comfortable and also the feeling with the machine has been good today. We started with a good direction and worked on some set-up options and particularly on the traction control settings. This is a very important factor for Sepang so that we can be consistent during the race because there is not so much grip here and the performance of the tyres can fade as the race goes on."

"The gap to the front is still too large for us to be totally satisfied, so clearly there is work to do, but both Dani and Andrea have the potential to close that gap tomorrow," commented team manager Kazuhiko Yamano.