Jorge Lorenzo said he felt "difficult on the bike" on Friday afternoon, but accepted he "struggled less" than his rivals as he set the fastest time on the opening day of MotoGP free practice in Brno.

Fast from the off in FP1, Lorenzo eventually set the fastest morning time to end the session 0.15s ahead of Marc Marquez after 'a big improvement' on his second run.

As afternoon track temperatures soared over 50 degrees, Lorenzo, currently second in the championship, couldn't top his earlier time. Still, his pace and consistency, especially on his final four lap tun when a string of riders crashed out, pleased the Majorcan as no one went faster than his morning best.

"Well in the morning I started very fast in the beginning of the first exit," said the 28-year old. "Then in the second I improve five tenths more, a big improvement. In the afternoon for everyone it has been harder than anytime this year. Very hot and slippy conditions similar to Malaysia, maybe a little less humid. It's very, very slippery, especially on the entry to the corner with the front tyre.

"When I saw the crashes I pay a little bit more attention to not crash. All the tyres in the last exit were the hard on the front and the rear. Also some setting with the other bike. Very happy with both practices, especially in the afternoon. Everyone has a lot of problems. Also I feel difficult on the bike but compared to the other riders I struggle a little bit less. We try the tyres and setting. Now we know the direction to try and improve tomorrow for trying to improve even more. It has been a very positive day so we'll see if we can keep like that tomorrow."

In Indianapolis Lorenzo predicted an improved performance in the Czech Republic as the tyre allocation included rubber with enhanced edge grip, which is key to his flowing style. From what he tested on Friday, Lorenzo believes the medium rear tyre option will be his preference while he remains undecided on front tyre choice.

"In Indy we had a better tyre than Sachsenring and Assen. Here too... The soft tyre this year is the hardest from last year. Now we have a softer tyre that we didn't have last year on the rear and it seems it's a little better for the left side. For the moment we try also the hard one, the same as last year. Probably I prefer the new one from this year, the softer option. Also we try the front and have more doubts for which one is better; the medium one or the hard one and. Tomorrow we're going to solve it."

Asked whether his objective was to simply finish ahead of team-mate and title rival Valentino Rossi this weekend, Lorenzo said, "My objective in Indy was winning and here is the same: to win the race. If I see it's not possible I will see what I do, what my realistic position.

"The Yamaha riders don't have the same freedom of pressure that Marc is having. He's taking so many risks already from today, he crashed two times. He take more risks than us because he has to recover all the points. My goal is to put the bike in the best way for the race and I think we are in a good way for that. In the first one or two laps of the race we will see what I can do."

Speaking of who he expects to challenge for honours on Sunday, the number 99 said, "Dani has been a little unlucky. He has not a good tyre in the morning, or he told that to the press. Especially in the afternoon he face a mechanical problem. He is very fast here. For sure this crash will probably make some damage to his confidence. We'll see what he does tomorrow but he's always fast here.

"Marc is strong. In the afternoon maybe he struggle a little bit more with the hot conditions. Valentino always keep the same pace in the morning than the afternoon. Maybe Iannone here is strong but there are still two more practices to do so there's a long time to finish."

Both Marquez and Rossi declared that Lorenzo is currently the rider to beat not only in terms of lap time, but also race pace.



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