Jorge Lorenzo is sure he can match Honda in this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, despite acknowledging that Yamaha's main rival is in even stronger shape with Casey Stoner back on form.
Lorenzo's title rival Dani Pedrosa has won the last two grands prix at Aragon and Motegi, reducing the Yamaha man's MotoGP championship lead to 28 points with three races to go.
Although so far Lorenzo has felt able to ride cautiously and focus on his points lead, Honda might be a stronger threat at Sepang as Pedrosa's team-mate Stoner has declared he is in much better shape this weekend as his post-surgery recovery continues.
Lorenzo was third fastest in Friday's only dry session at Sepang, behind the two Hondas and three tenths off pacesetter Pedrosa.
But he said the times were deceptive and does not believe he will be on the back foot, even with Stoner joining Pedrosa up front again.
"This morning was great," said Lorenzo.
"From the beginning I was competitive and more or less at the same pace as Dani and Casey.
"Casey especially is much stronger than he was in Japan."
Yamaha team boss Wilco Zeelenberg was frustrated, however, feeling the loss of useful practice two running to rain showers was costly.
"Overall it's been a disappointing day because we missed a complete practice this afternoon, which is a shame because I think everybody was ready to step up the game and improve things," said Zeelenberg.
"There were four corners wet and the rest dry so a useless second practice. Let's see tomorrow, hopefully we'll have better weather."
- Jorge Lorenzo
- Dani Pedrosa
- Casey Stoner