LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl isn't ruling out the possibility of fighting for the podium at the Austin MotoGP.
Bradl finished sixth fastest after the first two free practice sessions at The Circuit of The Americas in Texas on Friday, 1.380s behind Repsol Honda star Marc Marquez.
Factory II and Open class riders Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro finished ahead of Bradl and the German rider was encouraged by his performance on day one given that the trio have the option of utilising the softer rubber available under the new regulations.
“We improved quite good from the morning to the afternoon, especially the handling, which was quite important in the first section,” said Bradl.
“Overall I think it's not too bad; we have three riders in front of us who can use the extra soft tyre, so it's looking not so bad and the soft and hard tyres are working ok.
“For the distance we don't know yet, we will try to collect some more data tomorrow – the soft tyre could be an option for Sunday,” he added.
“The track was ok, good temperature, some small wind but we can manage that and there was really good grip compared to this time last year.”
On his prospects of a rostrum challenge, Bradl said: “It's an option – I hope so. It's really difficult because it's really early in the season. Last year we could see who had the pace and who didn't, but with the new regulations it's more difficult. We will see tomorrow but we are not so far away.
“[Marc] Marquez and [Dani] Pedrosa were on the podium in Qatar and I think they are the favourites here as well.”