It shows how far Jorge Lorenzo has progressed in recent races that he was not satisfied with fifth on Friday at the Austrian MotoGP, speaking not only of closing the gap to team-mate Andrea Dovizioso on Saturday, but possibly taking over at the top of the timesheets.

"Consistent, but not fast enough," was Lorenzo's verdict after the opening day at the Red Bull Ring, which saw FP2 track time reduced by an earlier shower.

"I'm half-a-second slower than Dovi. It's true Dovi didn't make four laps at the same pace, but he has something more, especially in the turn 3 braking. So we still need to improve. We are closer than other tracks. But we need to understand what we are missing."

Reflecting on the season so far, highlighted by a podium at Jerez, the triple MotoGP champion confirmed his biggest Ducati breakthrough came last weekend at Brno.

"This category is very close. It's difficult to achieve much better results. So the steps were small. Just the weekend in Brno and the Monday test we could understand something ['some settings… to be more confident'] quite bigger than the other changes.

"Today we are not bad. Fifth position. Six tenths from first. But we can do much better. So I hope that tomorrow the bike gives me better feelings, like at Brno on the Monday, and we can be, not sixth-tenths, but one-tenth or even in front."

Pressed on where he thinks that time can be found, Lorenzo explained that braking - and how quickly he can hone his technique at each track - are the biggest obstacles.

"I'm getting closer, to be able to brake in a Ducati way, but still every time I go to a new track I need some more practice than Dovi to start braking with confidence and adjust the bike," he said.

"Today I needed more time than for example Brno, where we stayed for four days and on the last day I was braking very hard. So I hope that each track we go to, it will be a little easier for me to ride naturally with this bike."

Another area to improve is in terms of changing riding style to conserve tyre life during the race.

"Dovi is very good, to save the tyres. He rides in a specific way. Very smooth with the throttle and using more rear brake. Every time I am understanding more the way you have to manage the tyre.

"With Yamaha, it was not necessary to ride this way. With this bike you need to change during the race a little bit your riding and I am understanding and learning more every time. I'm getting a more and more complete rider on this bike."

Lorenzo, Dovizioso and Pramac's Danilo Petrucci all chose to ride with the new Ducati 'downforce' fairing on Friday, but paid a different price in terms of top speed.

Quickest of the day was Alvaro Bautista at 310km/h, closely followed by fellow GP16 rider Hector Barbera, both on the standard fairing. Dovizioso then set a 306.1km/h, followed by Lorenzo at 302.0km/h and Petrucci at 301.1km/h.

"We are losing quite a lot on top speed, but also I'm losing a bit to Dovi and he is using also the new fairing," Lorenzo confirmed. "So we need to understand why. Especially in 5th-6th gear, we are losing a little bit top speed. But it's obvious that the new fairing maybe give you more front contact on acceleration, but when you put 5th or 6th gear you are losing speed because of the downforce."

Lorenzo briefly led last weekend at Brno, only to lose out during the mid-race bike swaps.


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