Andrea Dovizioso flew out of the blocks at Motegi this morning as the Tech 3 Yamaha rider posted the third fastest Friday practice time on his satellite M1.
The Italian reinforced his bid for a seventh MotoGP rostrum this season as he ended FP2 as the leading non-factory competitor, with only title protagonists Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda and Factory Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo ahead.
The stop and go nature of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit enables Dovi to utilize his hard-braking prowess and he made the most of the perfect conditions to lap in a best time of 1m 46.919s to up his pace by almost 0.7s from FP1, finishing the opening day just 0.092s behind Lorenzo and 0.194s adrift of Pedrosa's fastest lap.
Dovizioso concedes it will be “difficult” to challenge Pedrosa and Lorenzo for victory on Sunday, but at the very least expects to be firmly in the mix for another podium result at the Japanese MotoGP.
“It has been a really good start to the weekend because I did my time with the hard tyre and that looks like being a probable choice for the race,” he said.
“The good thing is I am very competitive already but I know we can improve on the last part of the entry to the corner.
“I don't feel comfortable in that area, but even if I don't feel 100% confident with the bike and ready to push as hard as I know I can, I am very close to the fastest two,” added Dovizioso.
“I believe I will be able to follow Dani and Jorge on Sunday and that is basically my aim for the weekend.
“It will be difficult to fight with them for the victory but I am certainly looking to be battling for the podium again on a track that I really like.”
Dovizioso took third at Aragon last time out, prevailing in a race-long duel with team-mate Cal Crutchlow to edge the final place on the rostrum.