Jorge Lorenzo was delighted with his start to the Assen MotoGP weekend, having finished Thursday practice on top of the standings and happy with his bike, the weather and track.
The MotoGP title leader, who now holds a commanding 37 point advantage over Andrea Dovizioso following his third win of the season last Sunday at Silverstone, felt comfortable and fast from the start of the session.
The Spaniard consistently improved his time at the top, but was put under pressure from Ducati's Casey Stoner, who finished just 0.011sec off Lorenzo. The Australian's team-mate Nicky Hayden a further half-second back.
Lorenzo tried both the soft and hard Bridgestone tyres, working especially on the front tyre, having encountered some small problems in that area of the race last year. The 23-year-old's best time was almost a second quicker than injured team-mate Valentino Rossi's pole last year - thanks to the 'new', much faster, Ruskenhoek turn.
"I am happy with today and I feel very good on the bike; the weather is perfect and I love Assen! The new corner is very fast and I really like it, it's great fun to ride through the chicane at such a speed,” said Lorenzo.
“We could probably have a bit more traction but we have two more sessions to work on this and then we will try to get the best possible grid position again. The team is working so well and the ambience and atmosphere in our garage is amazing at the moment."
"The weather is unbelievable which we're really happy about because it can be quite nasty here, but it looks like being very consistent, which is exactly what Jorge was today!” added Fiat Yamaha team manager Wilco Zeelenberg. “He enjoyed it from the start and this showed in his times.
“We tried both the soft and hard Bridgestone tyres and worked a bit on the front, where he had some issues last year, but it looks good so far. We think the track will be about two seconds faster in the end so we can definitely find some more pace tomorrow, but we've made a good start here in Holland."
Dovizioso was fifth fastest for Repsol Honda.