MotoGP championship leader Valentino Rossi says he expects to improve through the weekend after finishing the first day's free practice for the Czech MotoGP in second place behind Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
Although the eight-time world champion was outpaced by Lorenzo by 0.399sec in Brno on Friday, Rossi said he was encouraged by the pace of the M1.
"Jorge and I were very fast from the start of this session which shows how good our bike is and what a great job Yamaha has done back in Japan," he said. "We've worked well and we've already shown some interesting lap times today.
"The setting isn't perfect yet though so we need to work more, especially on the tyres because this track is very hard on both the front and rear. I hope the surface improves as more rubber is laid down because at the moment the grip isn't great."
Rossi added that he was disappointed not to be racing against championship rival Casey Stoner, who has withdrawn from the next three races to get to the bottom of the illness that has troubled him for much of the season.
"I'm really sorry that Stoner isn't here," said Rossi. "I would always rather have my rivals to race against and I would like to wish him all the best; I hope he's back soon."