Friday at Jerez saw Jorge Lorenzo riding pain free for the first time this season - and challenging Casey Stoner for first place during practice for his home Spanish Grand Prix.

The Fiat Yamaha rider fractured his right hand while training on a practice bike shortly after the first test of 2010, and was still recovering when he claimed a surprise second place behind team-mate Valentino Rossi at the Qatar season opener.

That was on April 11 and the extra time since, following the cancellation of the Japanese Grand Prix, has allowed the 2009 title runner-up to get back to peak physical condition.

Lorenzo ran a strong race pace from the start of practice at Jerez, and finished the hour just 0.144sec off fastest man Stoner (Ducati).

"I'm really happy with this first day. Everything has gone well and I don't have any pain in my hand anymore," said Lorenzo, who has taken pole position at Jerez for the last four years, twice in the 250cc class and twice in MotoGP.

"I feel as good on the bike as I felt last year when I got pole, although my aim is to make sure I don't repeat the same mistake in the race this time! I always feel like I ride well here and I've already got a good pace; with some small modifications we can be even better.

"I don't think the perfect MotoGP bike exists but our Yamaha is definitely nearly there, maybe we just need a bit more top speed... Tomorrow my aim is to improve my pace just a bit more to be consistently in the 39s; I'm excited about the weekend."

Rossi, who is now riding injured himself after hurting his shoulder in a more recent training fall, was fifth fastest.


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