Jorge Lorenzo came away from his first outing with Repsol Honda in 2019 “very satisfied” after the Majorcan made considerable set-up improvements that allowed him to ride the RC213V with greater confidence and fluency.

Furthermore, the five-time world champion was quick. Lorenzo posted the fifth fastest lap time on day three, the sixth quickest on the combined standings, with his personal best of 1m 54.653s just 0.04s slower than illustriuous team-mate Marc Marquez.

“Our potential is huge,” he said on Monday in spite of a late fall at turn two, caused by what he claimed to be falling temperatures and a sudden lack of front end feel.

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Lorenzo, however, may be slightly concerned by overall pace. The speed was there. And his improvement from Saturday to Monday was a healthy 2.4s. But in terms of pace, he only managed eight sub-1m 56s laps. Maverick Viñales, by contrast, did 37.

Still, the 31-year old appeared more than content. He acknowledges the first races in Repsol Honda colours may be tough. But he is gradually acquiring comfort aboard th RC213V as the broken scaphoid bone in his left wrist heals.

“As I said on the first day, we didn't start to work on the setting, and when we start working on the settings we clearly improved the bike,” he said. “Plus I rode better in general.

“So we improved a lot and today we could be competitive already and be very close to the fastest. So I'm very satisfied. It shows that we have potential and if we keep working we can go very high.”

What contributed to him improvements? “A lot of things,” he said. “Just my third day as an official [Honda] rider. Valencia and Jerez I wasn't fit and also a very long time ago so we didn't have enough time to be very ready for the first race.

“But in the last days here we made a very big step forward so that means when I am fit and can ride a little bit better we can improve even more small details and be even stronger. So I leave this track very satisfied and looking forward to the race.”

On his aims for the season ahead, Lorenzo continued: “Obviously I could be much better physically, without this injury, and with more bike pace but also it could happen much worse and I could have been injured today.

“So let's take the positives and the positives are that the progression over these three days has been huge. The first day was very complicated because my pace on the bike and also the bike was very far from a good setting, a good fit.

“But now we are much closer. We have a big potential and I'm sure if we keep working like that, with all the Honda potential, and I will understand more the bike and obviously get fitter, our potential is huge. So, very happy.

“I will try my best with the conditions I will have. Strategy is to give the maximum with the things you have in that moment. It has been always like that in my career, so it's like that now.”

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