MotoGP rookie of the year Jorge Lorenzo finished the last day of 2008 European track action the fastest of the former Michelin riders, having finished third in both days at Jerez.

Lorenzo was also the leading rider using modified 2008 machinery, compared to the prototype '09 bikes that occupied the top two places courtesy of his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

Jorge set a 1min 41.163sec using his 2008 machine on day one, then spent all of day two on a test bike, which had some new prototype parts - but not the '09 engine, which Lorenzo hopes to use at the first 2009 test.

The 21-year-old found a further 0.737sec using his 'evolution' machine on Thursday, leaving the Estoril race winner 0.9sec behind Rossi and Pedrosa, and a fraction in front of Toni Elias.

"Today we concentrated on the evolution bike, which has some prototype parts, with a new setting from Valentino," confirmed Lorenzo. "It seems we had a small advantage with this bike and I was able to improve my time, so I am happy about this. This 'new' bike is also more stable under acceleration, with less wheelie and the throttle is a bit easier to handle so these are important improvements.

"The final conclusion of these two days is very positive I think, although we know there is still a lot of margin to improve, both in the bike and in my riding style and of course we need to keep working to better understand the new tyres.

"Now we start a long holiday and I am looking forward to starting training immediately, because since Valencia I have really been too busy! It will be good to have two months off with my friends and family but I am also looking forward to February in Sepang, when hopefully I will get to try the new engine," he added.

Despite the single tyre rule, the Fiat Yamaha Team will remain divided next season, meaning the 2008 format of two team managers also looks set to continue.

Lorenzo's team manager Danielle Romagnoli was particularly pleased with how quickly his rider had adapted to the new tyre brand.

"This has been a very good test for us, and today we improved our lap time by quite a lot compared with yesterday," stated Romagnoli. "We are very happy about Jorge's lap time because he is the first rider who is using new tyres, behind Valentino and Dani who have had a lot more experience with them. Of course we need more time to understand the tyres and how we can use them to their full potential, but we have time. Now finally we have a long winter break for the team, but Yamaha will continue to work hard to improve our bike before the next test in Sepang in February."



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