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Lorenzo rejects Rossi claim that Austria win would save MotoGP season

Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Red Bull Ring MotoGP 2017

Jorge Lorenzo has dismissed former team-mate Valentino Rossi's claim that a win for the Spanish rider in this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix would save a "disappointing" first season at Ducati.

Ducati dominated at the Red Bull Ring last year, and this weekend's race at the Spielberg venue has been tipped as one of three-time champion Lorenzo's best opportunities to claim a first win since his switch to Ducati for 2017.

Lorenzo was boosted by the introduction of Ducati's radical new fairing in last weekend's Brno race, which he believes is worth half a second per lap.

Acknowledging the growing threat posed by a revitalised Lorenzo, Rossi said on Thursday that his former Yamaha team-mate would be targeting a victory in Austria after a testing start to his Ducati tenure.

"He is a great champion and he knows this is an important chance for him to try and win a race that would save a disappointing season for him," said Rossi.

Responding to those claims on Friday, Lorenzo - who is 10th in the riders' standings - insisted he had nothing to prove.

"Valentino said I have to win here to save my season - I do not have to save anything, and I do not have to win here," he said.

"I always have to do better, understand the bike more.

"I still need to understand how to brake better, accelerate better, then the results will come without problems.

"It's not the case that my best result must come here.

"I have to be closer to the first riders, and in MotoGP it's not easy to win."

Lorenzo finished Friday's second practice session in fifth place, half a second behind factory Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, who led Yamaha's Maverick Vinales by two tenths.

He admitted the performance of the GP17 was not as strong as Ducati had anticipated.

"We are not as fast as we hoped, and Ducati does not have the same advantage it had last year," said Lorenzo.

"I am missing stability under braking, and I am losing too much to Dovizioso.

"The advantage the Ducati has on braking is one of his weapons.

"At this point I don't have his confidence to brake so late."

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