Jorge Lorenzo replicated his pre-season testing form to lead first practice for the 2016 Qatar MotoGP season opener on Thursday evening.
Half-a-second clear of the field during testing at the same Losail circuit, the reigning triple champion held a similar advantage at one stage during the 45-minute FP1 outing.
However team-mate and 2015 title rival Valentino Rossi had trimmed Lorenzo's lead to 0.267s by the end of the session.
“I had a good start. From the first run I was able to have the best lap time and probably also the best pace, but we still have a margin for improvement both in lap time and pace,” Lorenzo said.
“We will keep working on the setting and the electronics to improve in some areas for tomorrow. The track will also be better with more grip level tomorrow and the lap times will be faster.
“We also tried the new medium front tyre that can probably be an option for the race, we will do more tomorrow.”
Comparing the new-for-2016 tyre and electronic changes, Lorenzo stated that it is the new unified software that he now finds most tricky.
“The most difficult part for me is the electronic. It is less sophisticated. You need to pay more attention with the throttle, be a little smoother and more precise than in the past. It is a similar feeling to five or six years ago. You get a little more tense and tired on the bike and need to save a little more energy for the final laps.”
Two further practice sessions will be held on Friday.