Jorge Lorenzo may have been pipped to the top spot by Casey Stoner at the end of Thursday's practice session in Qatar, but the Yamaha rider arguably enjoyed the best overall start to the first 1000cc MotoGP event.
That's because, although 0.174sec from reigning champion Stoner's Honda in terms of a best lap, the Australian had chatter issues to solve, while Lorenzo needed only small changes to what appears to be a strong base setting for the new M1.
“I feel good, we are in the top, close to Casey and we have improvements to come tomorrow from the bike, the track and myself,” said Lorenzo, second to Stoner at Qatar last year. “At the end we made a small change to gain some rear grip on all the corners which helped drop the lap time.”
“P2 is quite good and we're happy to be there just one tenth from Casey. It seems to be that what we've learnt and solved over the wintertime is working here,” confirmed team manager Wilco Zeelenberg.
“Jorge is riding very well, calm and relaxed and focused so I believe we can make some more steps forward when the track is a little cleaner and get faster. Let's see what tomorrow brings.”
Factory Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies also led the session on his way to fourth.