MotoGP rookie Cal Crutchlow was thrilled to qualify eighth on his first visit to Estoril, and to be between his Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards and series legend Valentino Rossi on the grid.
Crutchlow has now qualified eighth, ninth and eighth for his first three MotoGP races after moving up from World Superbikes, and admitted he was thrilled with how his debut campaign was progressing so far.
"I don't think I could have gone any faster or put in any extra effort than I did," said Crutchlow. "And if I can keep coming to circuits that I've never seen and qualifying inside the top 10, I'm going to be really happy.
"At one point it looked like I might get my first second row, but to be in between Colin and Valentino on the grid for my first race here, I've got to be really happy."
The Briton admitted that he was contending with some physical issues as well.
"It is not easy on this track and I'm finding it quite physical," Crutchlow said. "I'm still having some issues with arm pump in my right arm and to compensate I'm using my left arm a lot and that is stressing the shoulder I had an operation on during the winter. There's no real time to relax and when you're braking from 200mph to 30mph, it is really physically demanding on the arms and shoulders."
Edwards was equally pleased with his season-best seventh place.
"That's my best qualifying result of the season so far, so I'm happy about that when you consider how strong the field is this year," he said. "I gave it everything I had out there even though conditions weren't perfect. There were still a couple of damp patches on the track, especially at the last corner, and I couldn't take my normal line. It is the same for everybody but in a couple of places where I had to alter my line, it threw me out of my rhythm a little bit."