Jorge Lorenzo fears Casey Stoner could wreck his hopes of winning a first American MotoGP race in Laguna Seca on Sunday.
The Spaniard, who has not finished below second place in the opening eight races of the campaign, could not compete with Stoner’s blistering pace in opening practice at the spectacular California circuit yesterday.
The 23-year-old clocked a best time of 1.21.932 but could only get to his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine to 0.233s of Stoner’s impressive best.
And the double world 250GP champion admitted to MCN that Stoner’s early form was an ominous sign for Sunday’s 32-lap race.
Lorenzo, who finished third in Laguna Seca 12 months ago despite a massive qualifying crash, said: “Casey is really fast on Friday and he arrives at the maximum very quickly. Normally he improves a little bit less than the others but I can see him with a lot of confidence on the bike, so I see him as a big rival for this race. He is very strong here and we will have to work hard to catch him!”
Lorenzo, who has won five races in 2010, said he was still not completely confident in the Laguna Seca track after he suffered heavy crashes in ’08 and ’09, and he added: “I still don’t have the perfect feeling. It will be important to be patient and not to be crazy because this track is special, it can be dangerous so I will try to be calculated and also be competitive.”