Jorge Lorenzo is hoping that being back on European soil will turn his season around and the Spaniard got things off on the right foot today at the San Marino Circuit in Rimini, Italy, by posting the fastest lap of the day in the second of two practice sessions.Lorenzo turned in his quickest lap on his 10th of 22 go-arounds, lapping at 1:33.929 to better his morning practice time by a whoppping 1.2 seconds to juimp from sixth to first on the timesheets. The defending World Champion was the only rider to crack the 1:34 mark.

"I feel much more comfortable on the bike this afternoon with the changes we made," Lorenzo said in a team release. "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."Casey Stoner ended the session second, the Repsol Honda rider just .076 of a second behind Lorenzo. Stoner, who is attempting to win his fourth straight Grand Prix this weekend and holds down a 44-point lead on Lorenzo in the World Championship, did his best lap near the end but prior to the rain that arrived at the conclusion of the session.Stoner was ahead of the man who dominated at Misano last year, his teammate Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa was third in both sessions, ending the day just .276 behind Lorenzo and .239 of a second ahead of San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli. Simoncelli was half a second better than he was in the morning session as he hopes to bounce back from a miserable outing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend.Yamaha's Ben Spies was the only rider who couldn't match his time from the morning session and that meant he was fifth on the day. Spies lapped at 1:34.469 - .540 of a second behind his teammate Lorenzo.Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso was sixth, besting Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista. Then came Maprfre Aspar's Hector Barbera with San Carlo Honda's Hiroshi Aoyoma ninth and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards 10th.Valentino Rossi could do no better than 11th on the Marlboro Ducati in his home race, the Italian 1.4 seconds slower than Lorenzo. He was.087 of a second ahead of Pramac Racing Ducati's Randy de Puniet with Nicky Hayden struggling even more in 13th. Hayden was just .001 of a second behind de Puniet and just .088 of a second off Rossi's best.Friday Practice1.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:33.929

2.                  Casey Stoner (Honda) 1:34.005

3.                  Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:34.205

4.                  Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:34.444

5.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:34.469

6.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:34.989

7.                  Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1:35.023

8.                  Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:35.11

9.                  Hiroshi Aoyoma (Honda) 1:35.282

10.                  Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:35.301

11.                  Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1:35.301

12.                  Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 1:35.418

13.                  Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:35.419

14.                  Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1:35.423

15.                  Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:35.622

16.                  Loris Capirosssi (Ducati) 1:35.826

17.                  Toni Elias (Honda) 1:36.196For complete coverage of last week's MotoGP in Indianapolis, click on the following link for the newest issue of Cycle News...http://cyclenews.coverleaf.com/cyclenews/20110830/#pg27

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By Cycle News Staff

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