Andrea Dovizioso may have led both Friday practice sessions at his and Ducati's home Italian MotoGP, but he believes Jorge Lorenzo currently has the best race pace.

Dovizioso, chasing Ducati's first victory since 2010, began the day by being 0.033s quicker than Lorenzo's Yamaha in the morning session. He then improved by 0.4s to topple reigning champion Marc Marquez (Honda) in the afternoon.

"Strong but still not enough. Not as good as I would like," was Dovizioso's verdict, while speaking in the Ducati hospitality on Friday evening.

The #4, who set his best lap time while using the harder of his rear tyre options, added:

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"The speed is there, a '47.4s is a really nice lap time. But still we are working on the pace. Especially in this track it is very hard and difficult to keep the pace until the end, about energy and the rear tyre. Still we have our work to do to fight for the victory. I think still it is not enough after day one."

Lorenzo, winner of the last two races, slipped to third place in the afternoon, 0.373s behind the Ducati rider. However Dovi agreed that Lorenzo currently looks the man to beat in race trim.

"In this moment Lorenzo has the best pace, yes. He doesn't have a margin but it is easy for him to keep the lap time and that makes the difference with Lorenzo," Dovizioso said.

"It is more about the grip we have to improve," he added. "The consistency of the grip is not the best and from the middle of the race until the end our tyre drop a little bit more than Yamaha and doesn't give us the possibility to finish the race with them so we are working on that."

Dovizioso's victory challenge should be helped by the debut of a new Ducati engine on Saturday, although the Italian played down its significance. "Everybody speak about [the engine] but it is not something really different, also because already today we did 350 (km/h). It is quite enough!"

Desmosedici riders dominated Friday's top speed charts along the fastest straight of the season, including a new circuit record of 350.1km/h by Avintia's Hector Barbera. Dovizioso admitted he and other riders are concerned about such speeds.

"Already in the safety commission we spoke about that but it is not easy to take that decision to limit the speed," he said. "The reality is especially before the braking, 350 becomes on the limit because we jump a little bit [over the crest]. It is really on the limit so we need to speak about that, but you can understand it is not easy to put a limit on the bike and speed."

But the last thing Dovi wants is to see the undulating main straight flattened out. "No this would be bad. It is one of the best tracks in the world. I hope not."

Dovizioso has climbed the MotoGP podium four times in the opening five races.

Injured team-mate Andrea Iannone was fourth fastest on Friday.

Iannone damaged his shoulder and arm during a private test at Mugello earlier this month, data from that test will have helped the Italian team make such a strong start to the race weekend.