Ducati Corse’s Jorge Lorenzo says he leaves the Qatar test ‘optimistic about the first race’ following a positive conclusion to the three days of running.

The Spanish rider has found life, up till now, largely difficult on the Ducati. The Desmosedici isn’t allowing him to ride it as he wants, and he has spent the majority of testing trying to adapt his style.

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Lorenzo began the Qatar test well, ending the first session fifth fastest and branding the day as his best all winter. The Spaniard focused on minor improvements on Saturday, and did not set a flying lap on the soft tyre, though did manage to better his Friday time by three tenths of a second.

On Sunday, Lorenzo completed 53 laps and managed the fourth fastest time of the test with an impressive 1m54.519s, a gain of just over two seconds on his Friday best. He also tested Ducati’s new aerodynamic fairing, though kept his thoughts on it to himself.

“Today was a much more positive day than the first two,” he said. “In general things went very well and I achieved my best position in the three official 2017 tests.”

The Ducati rider never put in a full race simulation on Sunday, and his long run pace, albeit decent enough, lagged somewhat behind what team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was doing and some margin off of Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales’ times.

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“We upped the pace quite a lot and I also managed to set some good times, but we still have to work on the race pace and, with the GP in mind, also decide which tyres to use.”

Although still some way off where he wants and needs to be, Lorenzo does now finally appear to be heading in the right direction on the GP17.

And with the Losail Circuit one that has typically been kind to Ducati, he is confident of being able to fight for a strong result when the 2017 season kicks off on March 26.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but on this track I think we can score a good result and so I’m leaving Qatar optimistic about the first race.”

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