Jorge Lorenzo feels he is in a position to challenge the Repsol Honda trio for victory in this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix after topping the timesheets in Friday Practice at Misano.

The Spaniard didn't appear to be a contender this morning as he languished down in sixth, almost a second off the pace, but reeled off a devastating sequence of laps to go fastest of all in the afternoon, beating the circuit record in the process.

The World Champion confirmed that set-up changes between the sessions made a significant difference to the YZR-M1 and the improvement was a surprise even to himself.

“I feel much more comfortable on the bike this afternoon with the changes we made. The setting we made is very similar to the Mugello one and there I won the race. To be honest I didn't expect so much change because we improved more than one second. We are now quite close to a victory I think. Casey and Dani are still so fast but at least we are there with them.”

Yamaha teammate Ben Spies was the man that took the fight to Stoner this morning, only dropping to second place in the dying seconds, but could only manage fifth in the afternoon. The American admitted he went in the wrong direction on set-up in FP2 but still feels in good shape for the weekend.

“Not bad today, it wasn't a great second session but we had to try a lot of things. We've been working a little bit on rider position since before Indy and we came up with a good direction for me. We tried to go more in that way this afternoon but it was too much so we lost a bit of the second session on it. Other than that we tried all the tyres we wanted to and went pretty fast with quite a lot of laps on them. Overall a positive day, we tried some stuff that worked and some stuff that didn't. We need to work harder for tomorrow and improve some grip levels but the overall feel and speed I'm happy with.”

Team Director Massimo Meregalli was encouraged by the performance of both riders on Friday and is feeling optimistic ahead of qualifying.

“We started with the right foot forward this weekend. This afternoon we tried different things with set up and tyres for Ben, now we have to fix a couple of issues but overall we are quite satisfied. Jorge made a great second session, very fast and consistent which is important. We will keep working and tomorrow we will finalise our set ups for the race.”