Tyre performance will be a major question mark hanging over Jorge Lorenzo during this weekend's Malaysian MotoGP.

It was in pre-season testing at the same Sepang circuit in February that the full extent of Lorenzo's difficulties with the new heat resistant rear tyres became apparent - the frustrated Spaniard left just seventh fastest.

"The tyres are much harder in the sidewalls," Lorenzo had said. "The bike is competitive, more or less at the same level as Honda, but with this tyre we are really bad. We have tried everything."

Related Articles

The Movistar Yamaha rider returns to Malaysia on the back of a different kind of tyre issue in Australia, where he salvaged a 'lucky' second place despite a 'defective' front tyre.

"At Phillip Island it was a really difficult race, but despite all of the problems that we've suffered during the race we still managed to get another podium," said Lorenzo.

"I look forward to racing at Sepang, it's a nice track. Maybe it's not the best place for our bike but we know this circuit really well because we usually do some testing here during the pre-season. It's always tricky to race in Malaysia because of the weather conditions, but even if it's rainy the grip at the circuit is not so bad."

Team-mate Valentino Rossi brought Lorenzo's two-race win streak to an end at Phillip Island, pulling eight points clear in the fight for second in the world championship in the process.

"I would like to be competitive again, especially because I want to fight for the second place in the championship," Lorenzo added, his choice of words underlining that he feels there are issues beyond his control. "Personally, I'm feeling well and I'm in a good physical shape so we can be optimistic for this weekend."

Rossi was fastest at the end of pre-season testing at Sepang.

Meanwhile, the weather forecast is predicting some rain during all three days of the race weekend...