Valentino Rossi believes his recent slump could be over after his commanding performance in practice at Catalunya today.
Yamaha dominated most of the Friday session, with Rossi emerging on top by 0.3 seconds over his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
The reigning champion had struggled by his past standards for the past two races, crashing at Le Mans and only finishing third at Mugello, a track where he had been unbeaten since 2002. Those results dropped him to third in the championship, nine points behind new leader Casey Stoner, but Rossi reckons he is now back on the pace again.
"We made some changes to our base setting here and already it feels much better to ride," he said.
"This practice went very well for us, we were strong from start to finish and to be in first position feels good. We have found out some very interesting things, especially about my feeling with the bike, but we need to keep on working because there are still some parts that we want to make better for tomorrow.
"I am really happy to be able to ride the bike how I want to finally but there is still plenty more work to continue with to make sure we're in the best possible shape for tomorrow afternoon and Sunday."
Team boss Davide Brivio also reckons that today's session marked a breakthrough.
"We started out today by trying some different things with our base setting and the balance and we had good feedback straight away which translated into a very strong session for us," he said.
"It looks like we have found a better feeling for Valentino and this might help him to reach his potential. We were fast all through the session and now we have a good base setting to work from for this weekend."
Lorenzo looked like he would be the one atop the timesheets at the end of the day until Rossi jumped ahead with five minutes to go.
"I feel very comfortable and we can see that we have the potential to put on a really good performance here." he said.
"We have a few things which we can improve so we will try to do that tomorrow but this is another good start for us."