Marco Simoncelli says a MotoGP podium finish at least and potentially a race win is his goal for the Portuguese Grand Prix after he dominated Friday practice at Estoril.
The Gresini rider, who has a factory-spec Honda, was quickest in both sessions today. He looked on course for victory in the Spanish GP at Jerez earlier this month, only to crash out while leading the wet race. He also fell this afternoon, but the minor incident did not prevent him from ending the day fastest.
"The day went well and I am happy," said Simoncelli. "I was fast already in the morning but with a few small changes we were able to stay at the top in the afternoon. I had a little crash but I'm not worried because I know exactly what I did wrong."
Having finished fourth at Estoril in 2010, Simoncelli is eying a "two or three position" improvement this weekend.
"I have always gone well at Estoril and so far this year it is looking more than promising," he said. "Last year I was within touching distance of the podium, so a good result on Sunday would be to improve that 2010 performance by two or three positions.
"In the dry, we can be in the mix. We started out with the same setting as Jerez and it went really well. We will have to see what happens in the wet but we shouldn't have the same problems as Jerez. We'll see tomorrow but for today we are happy."
Team boss Fausto Gresini said his rider was fired up by his Jerez loss and was translating that into a very strong performance in Portugal.
"That wasn't bad for the first day," said Gresini. "We are really happy with Marco's position and pace. He is motivated and has a good feeling with the bike. Obviously, we have to improve but the base is already very good. He had a little crash but it didn't affect the work the team had to do today and he was able to set some good times on his second bike, with a lot of laps on them.
"Last year he just missed out on the podium and he is still annoyed about what happened at Jerez, so these are positive factors for him right now."