Dani Pedrosa focused on testing Bridgestone's new asymmetric front tyre as free practice got underway at Valencia in Spain, where the Repsol Honda rider finished fifth on the combined times.

Pedrosa, whose chance of fighting for second place in the MotoGP World Championship was thwarted after two spills in the penultimate race at Sepang, lapped in 1m 31.647s to finish the day 0.351s down on team-mate Marc Marquez.

However, with the top 12 riders separated by less than one second on the time sheets, Pedrosa expects a close race and says tyre choice will prove critical in the final race of the season on Sunday.

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"Today will did a lot of tyre testing, above all with the front. We tried out three different types of front tyre and rode with the soft rear in the two practice sessions," said the Repsol Honda rider.

"I think that overall the state of the track allowed us to ride fast, although in the afternoon it felt harder to improve our times because of the wind.

"We have to work to improve our set-up and make a good tyre choice for the race, because the times are tight for both the factory bikes and non-factory bikes."

Pedrosa feels he has been hampered this season at the beginning of races, losing too much time on the opening laps as he struggled to make passes quickly to run with the leaders.

"With this bike it's hard to do everything perfect for 45 minutes. It's important to choose the fastest [strategy] over 45 minutes. This season, people have been fast from the start with the softer tyre and it's hard to pass and then you stay behind," he said.

"This is what happened to me basically this season and also because I was not starting from the front row.

"In the last five or six years the bike has increased over 10 kilos so if we go two kilos down it's going to be better for the brakes, especially on the entry of the corner because you have less weight," Pedrosa added.

"Two kilos less is not a big difference but it's in a positive way."