Despite finishing third in Friday practice for the Misano MotoGP round, championship leader Jorge Lorenzo struggled for confidence on his factory Yamaha.
The Spaniard, who holds a 68 point lead of Dani Pedrosa after his worst result of the season – third – last Sunday at Indianapolis, was unable to find a comfortable balance for his M1 and lacked grip from the Bridgestone tyres, especially in the rear.
Lorenzo finished the session a sizeable 0.672sedc behind Pedrosa, whose Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was a fraction quicker than Lorenzo in second place.
"Today was quite difficult for us, more so than we expected," said Lorenzo, who struggled with the intense heat last Sunday at Indy. "It's not my physical condition, I feel completely recovered from the hard weekend in Indianapolis, but we really struggled today and I didn't have enough confidence in my bike or in the tyres.
"We have some small problems in braking, corner speed and acceleration so I don't feel like I can ride how I want to at the moment. We are still third so it's not too bad, but we have some time to make up if we are to match Pedrosa," he admitted.
"This first practice hasn't been so positive for us. We couldn't find a good feeling or the right balance and we didn't have enough grip," confirmed team manager Wilco Zeelenberg. "There was a small problem at most corners, either the front was too deep or we didn't have enough rear grip, so we need to make a big improvement tomorrow.
"We've got some good ideas to find the right solutions but of course we need to take care at the same time not to create problems in other areas by making too many changes. Anyway, it's only the first day and we will work hard now to give Jorge the right package tomorrow."
Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi was fourth fastest.