Dani Pedrosa was delighted to be quickest in Friday practice at the Sachsenring – the first time he has topped the opening day at a grand prix this season.
The Honda rider has frequently complained that he has had to start from scratch with his base setup at each event with the 2011 bike, and has consequently taken a while to get up to speed. But he was the pacesetter in Germany today, setting three laps that would have been quick enough for the top spot.
"It's great, because for the first time this season I've got the best time on Friday and this is a very positive step for us," said Pedrosa. "We normally struggle initially, but today we did a very good job in first practice and I'm very happy for this."
Pedrosa reckons today might have been the only dry mileage the teams will get before the race.
"It's also a good result because tomorrow it could rain and so it was very important to get the basic set-up fixed on the first day here," he said. "I hope we will have one more practice session in the dry tomorrow, but it looks likely that at least one session will be wet. For tomorrow we need to keep working on the suspension and the electronics because I think we can still improve in some parts of the lap."
His teammate Andrea Dovizioso was only 10th, having been delayed by an early electrical problem.
"Tenth position does not reflect our true potential here and we have the chance to move forward with more work on the setup and also on the electronics to find the best balance for this track," he said. "We had an electronics issue at the beginning of the session so we lost 15 minutes, and this meant we couldn't get through all the setup work that we had planned.
"If the weather stays like this tomorrow and we can continue testing in dry conditions then I'm very confident about our chances of climbing nearer to the front and qualifying well. Dani's lap times were really fast today and he is the only one to have such a strong pace. We'll look to close the gap tomorrow."