Jorge Lorenzo was second fastest at Phillip Island but with Valentino Rossi ninth quickest, and a hugely competitive field this weekend, the world championship is on a knife edge. While Rossi's performance can be excused by not using a new rear tyre at the end of the session the speed and consistency of Lorenzo once again shone through.
"The bike was good from the beginning and we tried a new setting with a new feeling and tomorrow we'll try to improve this. I think that the front tyre is good and it' better than last year because it doesn't grain as much as in the past. With the rear tyre it might be too hard but the front is very good."
During the session Lorenzo was given a pit signal with a tricycle and when asked about it afterwards said that he doesn't want to "show his cards to his rivals" and allow other riders to ride behind so the team will now make an effort to avoid allowing riders to follow him and understand where he has his speed. Last week in qualifying Lorenzo was tailed by Rossi at the start of the session and he wants to make sure he does not do anyone any favours this time round.
Adapting to the requirements of any given season has always been a hallmark of Lorenzo in title fights. Once he knows what to expect and how to control things Lorenzo is always a fierce fighter and at Valencia in 2013 he attempted to bottle up the field behind Marc Marquez to try and generate a points gap to his rival. Now with Marquez and Pedrosa so strong, not to mention the soft tyre shod Suzuki and Ducati riders, would Lorenzo be tempted to employ similar tactics once again?
“You know, I think at this moment the possibility to win the race and have Marquez or Pedrosa finish in front of Valentino is quite high. The race is very long and finally, sooner or later, a rider who has pace will finish in front of Rossi.
"If you try to slow down the race with riders like Marquez, who have nothing to lose, it's difficult. And at tracks like Phillip Island with the wind and everything I don't think it's the right strategy for the moment. We'll see in the future if we have to use it or not, but for the moment I would like to be able to fight for the win here and in Malaysia and then let's see which position Valentino is able to finish. Maybe he finishes in front of me, and maybe what you say is necessary in the future.”