For the second time in as many Sundays, Jorge Lorenzo put his Ducati into the early lead of a MotoGP race.

At Brno, he was up front for three laps before the drying conditions prompted a pit stop. But Lorenzo remained at the head of a sunny Austrian round until lap 12 of 28.

At that point, reigning world champion Marc Marquez and team-mate Andrea Dovizioso moved ahead after a brief three-way battle. Lorenzo then lost a further position to the other Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa on lap 18, eventually finishing four-seconds from the podium and 6.7s from race winner Dovizioso.

"It's not the best result, because in Jerez I finished third. But in Jerez I finished 14 seconds from Dani, in Montmelo I finished 9 seconds from Dovi, but this time is the smallest difference," Lorenzo said. "Also I led more laps than ever, ten laps and again I was in the first row.

"So in general, for the performance, this has been the best weekend. The best feeling, the best performance. We must be satisfied, but not happy, because obviously we want more, my team wants more for me. But obviously we are making huge steps lately, and I hope also to make the last one that I need in the Misano test [next Monday]."

Dovizioso said he had not needed to save fuel, since "at the beginning I saved the tyre and when you save the tyre you save also the fuel. I didn’t change any maps."

However Lorenzo did suffer fuel issues, forcing a reduction in maximum power. His (soft) rear tyre - also used by Dovizioso - proved another area of weakness.

"Today there have been two problems for me" Lorenzo explained. "We were very close with the fuel, so from lap 3, I needed to put the last switch of the fuel setting, the lowest power one, and my bike was slower than normal. I lost so much on the straights compared to the three guys.

"I rode like normal. It's just I had a better feeling than the rest with new tyres and I could take this advantage. But I wasn't going aggressive with the throttle. If I had better pace probably they would need many more laps to catch me, or maybe they wouldn't get to me.

"But unfortunately I couldn't have the same pace, or one tenth more, to win the race. From lap 12-15 I started losing a lot of traction on the right side, and I needed to slow down."

Dovizioso also used the soft rear tyre and Lorenzo was reluctant to label it a mistake.

"We will never know if we made the perfect decision on the rear tyre, because on the right side I lost so much traction," he said.

"But every time I am more natural on the bike, I'm getting more experience, more knowledge, and sooner or later we will make it happen. The important thing is that we reduced a lot the gap with the fastest riders."

Lorenzo is now up to seventh in the world championship standings, between Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger.

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