Andrea Iannone showed strong form on the Ducati once again as the Austrian GP winner ended free practice at Brno in the Czech Republic second quickest on the factory Desmosedici.
Still on a high after claiming Ducati's first MotoGP victory since Casey Stoner in 2010 at the Red Bull Ring, Iannone picked up where he left off as he headed the morning session by two tenths from Valentino Rossi.
He then pounced late in FP2, knocking Jorge Lorenzo back to third with a final surge, clocking his fastest time of the day in 1m 55.944s as he finished only a tenth behind pacesetter Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda.
“I'm really very happy because I expected to be quick here at Brno, but not so quick. Now our performance is in line with that of Yamaha and Honda, and in some points we manage to make up a lot of time on them,” said Iannone.
“On this track we are only struggling in T2, and it is in this sector that I am losing all the advantage that I manage to accumulate in the other parts of the circuit. But I'm satisfied with the way we are working and how this weekend has begun.
“For the moment the feeling with the 'old' chassis is a bit better and I think that we'll focus on this for the race.”
Asked why his bike had stopped out on track during the morning session, the Italian replied:
"I have an alarm on the dashboard, and when you see it, you have to stop. But no problem on the engine. At first I thought we had broke an engine, but when I got back to the box they explained to me the engine is OK, we restart the bike and it's perfect. So I don't know what the defect was."
Meanwhile, team-mate Andrea Dovizioso – who completed a famous Ducati one-two in Austria behind Iannone – was a solid sixth fastest with a time in 1m 56.235s.
“I'm pleased with the improvements we made in the afternoon, but obviously I'm not totally satisfied with the smoothness and the speed,” said Dovizioso.
“We are not the quickest yet, but it was important to make this step forward during FP2. It's true that we're still missing a few tenths and that tomorrow we are going to have to work hard to find them, but all in all for the first day we are in quite a good position.”
Iannone is currently sixth in the championship standings on 88 points ahead of Sunday's 11th round of the season, with Dovizioso nine points behind in seventh.