Andrea Dovizioso's quest of making it a hat-trick of MotoGP podiums over three consecutive weekends started brightly as he set the fifth fastest lap time in a close FP2 session at Mugello.

Anticipated to be Italy's best chance of a rostrum result this weekend having finished inside the top three at Assen and Sachsenring, Dovizioso made good gains in the afternoon to end the day just 0.2secs off Yamaha counterpart Jorge Lorenzo.

Comfortably out-pacing Tech 3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow, Dovizioso was delighted with his lap times since he was primarily focusing on race tyre set-up - unlike soft rubber-shod third and fourth place riders Nicky Hayden and Hector Barbera.

"I am really happy with the way my home race has started. I arrive in Mugello in front of my home supporters full of confidence after the podiums in Assen and Sachsenring and we have made a positive start. We made a big improvement to the set-up of the bike this afternoon. I have more feeling with the front-end and I was much faster than in the morning, even though the conditions were worse.

"The temperature was hotter but the wind was much stronger this afternoon, so I'm happy to have improved by so much. The gap to Lorenzo is only 0.2s and I only used the hard tyres to focus on the race set-up for Sunday.

"We need to improve the bike to help the lap times comes a little bit easier but I am confident that we can find another big step like we did today."

Dovizioso finished second to Jorge Lorenzo aboard the Repsol Honda in the 2011 Italian Grand Prix.