Yamaha Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso reinforced his chances of another MotoGP podium finish at Brno in the Czech Republic on Sunday with a searing performance during Friday practice.
The Italian, who will join Nicky Hayden in the factory Ducati team next season, was third fastest on his YZR-M1 behind Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo on the works Yamaha.
Dovizioso was just 0.144s behind championship leader Lorenzo and a mere 0.160s ahead of team-mate Cal Crutchlow, who will also fancy his chances of challenging for a podium on Sunday.
Dovi, who is overflowing with confidence after achieving his fifth rostrum result in seven races at Indianapolis last time out, said:
“I am really satisfied with the work we have done today. Obviously we arrive here in great shape after the fantastic podium in Indianapolis and immediately I was comfortable with the bike and the big positive is in both sessions I was very close to the front.
“I was only 0.186s behind Dani this morning and 0.197s behind him this afternoon and it is great to start the weekend being so competitive.
“In every race I have been on the podium this season I have not started this strongly, so hopefully this is a good indication that we will be very strong in the race on Sunday.”
Dovizioso admitted he felt he was pushing close to the limit en-route to the third fastest time of the day at Brno, but is hopeful some changes will allow him to achieve fast laps more comfortably tomorrow.
“Id like it to be a little easier to make the lap time beca use it feels I am quite close to the limit on the front,” he said.
“But we have a plan for tomorrow that should help us in that area.
“The good thing about today is we can start to work immediately on improving the set-up of the bike because unlike in Indianapolis, the Brno track isn't dirty and there was a lot of grip.”