2009 MotoGP World Championship runner-up Jorge Lorenzo received a warm welcome in Thailand on Friday, during the first day of a visit to South East Asia.

In a country where half a million motorcycles are sold, but where stars of the sport rarely visit, the Spaniard made an early morning trip to the Yamaha Motor Thailand factory in Bangkok before spending the afternoon at the capital city's most important dealership, the Yamaha Rider's Club.

The double 250cc world champion also conducted a series of interviews with the local press before putting on his race leathers to test ride a Yamaha YZF-R1, decorated in Fiat Yamaha MotoGP livery.

It was Lorenzo's first time on a motorcycle since undergoing an operation on his left collarbone on the 16th November in Barcelona, but he was in strong enough shape to leave onlookers impressed at his ability. The crowning glory was a burnout in front of 800 people.

"It is incredible to see so many happy people here in Bangkok, where they don't get to see this kind of event very often," said Lorenzo. "Motorcycling is not one of the most popular sports here but it is certainly one of the most important businesses. To be able to come here and give the people at Yamaha a boost gives me a lot of pride. Tomorrow we'll head to Indonesia and I'm sure we'll find out even more about the secrets of this great brand."

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