Jorge Lorenzo feels his pace with Ducati puts him in the ‘best possible shape’ to target victory at the Austrian MotoGP after narrowly missing out to team-mate Andrea Dovizioso last weekend in Brno.

Following his dreadful start to 2018 picking up just 16 points from the opening five races, Lorenzo’s breakthrough was triggered by a modified fuel tank to allow the Spaniard to handle the GP18 easier and conserve energy over a race distance.

It paid off in dramatic style with back-to-back wins in Mugello and Circuit de Catalunya and despite a small dip Lorenzo battled back with second place in Brno – just missing out to Dovizioso.

Having relished the Ducati developments while making further improvements at Monday’s Brno test, Lorenzo is confident he can challenge at a circuit the Italian manufacturer has dominated since its return to the MotoGP calendar in 2016 with consecutive victories for Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso.

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“At the Monday test we also improved on some more details and I have been quite competitive especially with old tyres so I think we have arrived in the best possible shape for Austria,” Lorenzo said.

“The improvement compared to the first races has been huge. It is true that we were a little bit unlucky in Qatar because in Qatar even if I was uncompetitive I could have finished fifth or fourth but I had to crash.

“From then on it was difficult for me with the new bike. Then we had some new pieces arrive from Mugello and finally I got my first victory and from then on we could see a different Jorge riding, especially for a long race, I think it was a great race last time.”

Like Dovizioso, Lorenzo accepts challenging for the MotoGP world title could prove out of reach given the 76-point deficit he has to championship leader Marquez but hasn’t given up hope on a strong finish to the 2018 campaign before his switch to Honda to become Marquez’s new team-mate.

“I think we still need two or three more tenths of speed to be able to win four or five races in a row and to recover so many points from Marc,” he said. “For the moment it is still impossible as the power is very equal with all the brands so this is difficult as Marc is competitive at all tracks and he doesn’t crash so much in this moment.

“MotoGP is MotoGP and everything is possible and it is an unusual sport as you can have an injury or break the engine but for the moment the difference in points is so much so I don’t see ourselves winning five or six races in a row.

“I would like to win the championship and if it is not possible then finish second and if that is not possible then finish third or fourth. This is my target.”

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