Reigning triple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo is certainly keeping a cool head after dropping 48-points from Marc Marquez.

The Yamaha star labelled the situation as 'difficult', but also described the Honda rider as being 'slightly ahead' as the second half of the season begins in Austria this weekend.

Confidence-sapping cold and wet weather left Lorenzo tenth in Holland, then 15th after multiple accidents in Germany. Combined with being wiped-out by Andrea Iannone in Catalunya, it means Lorenzo has slipped almost two race wins behind Marquez with nine to go.

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"It's true that the situation is difficult because Marc is slightly ahead in the championship but we will do our best, as every year, to try and cut the distance," Lorenzo said. "We will keep fighting until the end of the championship!"

"I spent a few days' time on the Balearic Islands to relax but then I started to train again to get in the best shape to face the second half of the season."

Plenty of question marks surround this weekend, with Austria and the renamed Red Bull Ring last hosting a motorcycle grand prix back in 1997.

Lorenzo was sixth quickest at a recent private test, just a fraction from Movistar Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, but the pair were almost one-second from the leading Ducati of Andrea Iannone.

"We are still far because Ducati, with new tyres, can take profit from all their acceleration and stability under braking. Let's see which tyres Michelin bring for the race," Lorenzo said.

Michelin confirmed on Tuesday that they have created two new rear tyres as a result of data from the test.

However, despite Ducati's speed, Lorenzo and Rossi (59 points from the top) can take heart from Marquez missing the test. Lorenzo also admitted it felt good to be personally back on form, despite a far from perfect flying lap.

"Yeah, much better," he said. "When the track is good and we don't have problems with grip I am competitive again, as we saw today. I didn't make a perfect lap time because I was very careful with the soft tyre and lost some tenths.

"But when there is grip on the track I feel like before - like at Le Mans, Mugello and all the other grands prix."

In terms of track safety, Lorenzo echoed the words of most riders in calling for some corners to be improved.

"There are three or four corners that we need to try to put more space. More safety. Especially in the rain, because you can lose the front and - with bad luck - go in the direction of the wall. In that area it will be difficult [to change] because there are a lot of mountains, but it should be done because for sure it is not the safest track in the championship."