Lorenzo, whose first season as a Honda rider reached an early nadir with a poor showing last time out at Jerez, ended Friday practice at Le Mans fourth overall, just three tenths behind pace-setter Maverick Vinales.
The three-time MotoGP champion had been struggling with corner entry in particular, and pursued changes to the Honda RC213V’s ergonomics in order to rectify this.
In Le Mans, Lorenzo said that changes to his bike had yielded “a benefit in terms of comfort, in terms of safety in the entry of the corner”, and later confirmed that he had benefitted from trading the wider Yamaha-style seat unit he had been using so far for a standard Honda version.
“This type of seat from my times in Yamaha, I keep it in [my time at] Ducati, I bring it to Honda,” Lorenzo explained.
“But it looks like I discovered that with this bike for the moment [it] is not working, and the better solution is a standard Honda seat.”
Speaking about his improved pace, he said: “We need to put this in a result in the race. If we cannot do that, we cannot be really confident and demonstrate what we are able to do.
“This is just a practice but about the feelings, we make one step. It’s like a small victory, but it’s going to be a long process.
“As I told yesterday, for me, a small or a medium or big step, feels like a victory, and today I win something – maybe I don’t win a race or I don’t make a podium, but I win something.
“Hopefully we can keep this level. I don’t know [about] tomorrow because probably tomorrow is going to rain, but in the dry sessions I will keep trying more things to make the step.”
Teammate Marc Marquez, who finished the day in second overall, nearly fell at the same spot later in FP1, using his body to keep his Honda upright at the last moment.
Marquez then looked close to crashing on several occasions in the afternoon session.
“This morning was the good save, was a big save, difficult, I was in the kerb and I push a lot with the elbow to save the crash,” he recalled.
“In the afternoon, I was using the hard rear tyre and was good but since you don’t get the correct temperature, this first two-three laps were very difficult to get the temperature on the tyre – but if you don’t take a risk, then the temperature never arrives.
“[So I] was trying to be aggressive and then this created some slides I did not expect, but always inside the limit.”
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont