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Jorge Lorenzo thrilled with Yamaha's Mugello practice form

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha, Mugello 2011Jorge Lorenzo reckons Yamaha is closer to Honda's pace in Italy than at any other time this year.

The reigning world champion was fourth fastest in today's dry morning session at Mugello, behind three factory-spec Hondas, but was within 0.2 seconds of pacesetter Marco Simoncelli (Gresini).

"I am feeling confident because I like Mugello; I feel very comfortable riding on the new asphalt and this morning everything was good; all of us in the team have done a fantastic job so far," said Lorenzo.

"In my opinion we are now the closest we have been this season to the competition. Even with that, to win here will be tough, but we can! It is still too soon to say, but we have improved."

His team-mate Ben Spies, who took his maiden MotoGP victory at Assen a week ago, was similarly optimistic after taking fifth place.

"The morning session was good; the bike is working really well," said the American. "We tried some different tyre combinations and I think we can make the bike even better. I think we have the pace to battle for top five and contend for the podium so that's our goal."

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