By Stephen English
Andrea Dovizioso was third fastest after the opening day of practice for the US MotoGP at Laguna Seca and the Italian has set his sights on a top five finish this weekend.
The Ducati rider ended the day just under 0.25s off the pace of Marc Marquez and was clearly pleased with his performance and the balance of the bike:
"I am happy to see my name almost at the top and I made a good lap time in the last three laps. I had some help from Marquez in the first two splits but he was quite far ahead.
"So I'm happy because I am closer compared to the other tracks and my pace is not bad. We are able to try and improve tomorrow and to fight for fifth or sixth position."
When asked where the team needs to improve the handling of the GP13, Dovizioso singled out braking as the key area:
"At the end of braking we don't have a great feeling. The first part of braking is good but the last part when you have to release the brake and make maximum angle it is not good. So I need to be more aggressive but there I lose quite a lot."
Team-mate Nicky Hayden, riding in his last Laguna Seca event for the factory Ducati team, was ninth quickest.