The next fastest manufacturer, after Yamaha and Honda, wasn't Ducati - but Suzuki - after Friday practice for the US MotoGP.

Suzuki's lone rider Alvaro Bautista had beaten both factory Ducati riders on his way to seventh place last Sunday in Germany, and repeated that form at Laguna Seca.

The Spaniard lapped exactly one-second from Yamaha's pace setter Jorge Lorenzo and feels his GSV-R is far from at its limit.

"This morning the track was very cold so we started with the softer tyres and from the beginning it felt like we didn't have very much grip from the rear when entering a corner," explained Bautsita. "The contact feeling wasn't quite right so we worked on improving that and we also tried some different electronics settings for the spin control.

"In the second session the track temperatures had increased so we used the harder compound tyres, but we seemed to have the same problem as this morning with corner entry grip. This didn't give me a good feeling and made me slower in the corner and on the exit than I wanted to be. We worked hard to try and resolve it but we didn't quite manage it, so it gives us something to work towards tomorrow.

"My lap-times and rhythm were not too bad though and I was able to follow some fast guys quite easily, so this is a good sign. I hope that tomorrow we can improve on the rear grip and do some work on the gearbox, because we are not at our maximum here just yet.

"So we have a lot of work to do on Saturday, but at the moment I am very confident because my feeling is positive like it was last week in Germany."

Team manager Paul Denning explained where Bautista was losing ground.

"We're pretty close to the front guys everywhere except for the third section, but if we can find a decent step in lap-time there, and improve the overall rear grip, we should be in good shape for the rest of the weekend," he said.

Randy de Puniet was the top Ducati in eighth, with factory riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi tenth and eleventh.

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