Jorge Lorenzo found an improvement with his Repsol Honda after re-testing some older parts during Friday practice at the Japanese MotoGP.

The triple MotoGP champion, who has scored just two points in the last four races, declared: "Today was a positive day, maybe my best practice since I returned from injury. From the beginning I felt more comfortable.

"We changed something on the bike from earlier in the season and we had a good day. I improved my feeling and my speed."

The progress had come from combining an older chassis with newer developments.

"We came back to the chassis we used at the beginning of the season, but with some pieces that were put [on] through the season and this combination creates a little better feeling," he explained.

Lorenzo was still only 17th on the timesheets, but felt his pace was better than his single-lap performance.

"I was more competitive on the pace than a fast lap," he said. "The others could take more profit from a new tyre. For example, Fabio improved by 1.5s and I improved by just 0.4-0.5s.

"In pace, I am 1-1.2s slower but over an 'explosive' lap I was 1.8s. We just need to improve and take profit from the new tyre in qualifying, but the weather looks terrible for tomorrow.

"I just received a very strange [weather warning] in Japanese on my mobile, saying tomorrow it will rain very heavily. So we'll see how the track is tomorrow and if we are able to ride..."

Team-mate Marc Marquez was third quickest, behind the Yamahas of Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales.