Jorge Lorenzo may have admitted Friday’s MotoGP timesheets that followed Friday’s free practice did not tell the full story, but he soon assured assembled media that “we’re one of the fastest, one of the strongest” at the Sachsenring.

The five-time world champion headed a trio of Ducatis in FP2, topping the session and proving the GP18 can appear strong even around a track it has rarely excelled at. Lorenzo could finish no higher than eleventh here last year.

“Looking at the results of today, we are in first position, and with great speed for one or two laps,” said Lorenzo, 0.257s faster than Danilo Petrucci at the end of day one. “I would say that the bike has improved a lot, no?

“But also for example [Alvaro] Bautista and [Jack] Miller, with the old bike, they have been faster, quite close to our lap time, so probably we have not improved as much as we think.

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“Anyway, we have to see the race. Probably our bike can be a little bit better for consistency, because theoretically, it has more turning in the corners. But yes, in such a close championship, small steps are very important.

“I knew already that our bike is more complete than last year. I am in great shape at the moment, because I have more experience with the bike, than ever. And the last modifications that we made in the last few months, not only the ergonomics, but also in other areas of the bike, they made our package more competitive. So we arrived here in a good moment.

“Also, first position is important, but it can also be a little bit from circumstances, because Marc [Marquez] didn't use a new tyre, so maybe we could finish second place today. But we are one of the fastest and we are one of the strongest, also in the Sachsenring. So it's a nice feeling."

On a fuel tank that was further revised from the model he used at Assen two weeks ago, Lorenzo said, “We are making the last small changes in that area, it doesn't change too much. Just to try to have even more support in braking. I didn't feel so much difference, honestly.”

Can the soft rear go race distance? “Probably the soft can last, even if you will need to modify your riding style a little bit to save the tire more than the medium. But also with the medium we can be competitive. The choice of the tyre will be important, but I think we can be quick from the beginning to the end with both tyres.”

And what of the seven consecutive left-hand bends when throttle needs to be applied at close to full angle, Ducati’s kryptonite in recent years?

“This is one of the biggest issues for me for being competitive with this bike. Because normally, I carry a lot of corner speed, normally I accelerate very soon with the throttle, and with this bike you have to be the opposite, and just try to get the time in braking and acceleration.

“For this reason, my adaptation has also been a little bit slower than I wanted. But yes, at this track, at Phillip Island, where normally we spend a lot of time on the angle, we are losing a little bit, probably less than before this year, compared to the Honda which is a very short bike and very agile.”

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