Dani Pedrosa has finished second in the last two MotoGPs at Estoril - and that's also where the Spaniard ended up during Friday practice for the 2009 event.

The Repsol Honda rider lost out on victory by 1.8sec to Jorge Lorenzo last season, and his fellow Spaniard was once again the only rider to beat Pedrosa in practice - taking the top spot away just after the halfway mark of the hour.

Pedrosa, who turned 24 on Tuesday, finished the session 0.359sec behind Lorenzo but 0.062sec ahead of Lorenzo's Yamaha team-mate and world championship leader Valentino Rossi.

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"That was a good first session and I'm happy with how we've started our Estoril weekend. We were fast pretty much from the outset and the feeling from the machine was good straight away," said Pedrosa, who starts this weekend third in the championship, seven points ahead of the returning Casey Stoner.

"Normally when we visit this circuit earlier in the season it's cold and the grip is not very good, but today the track temperature was high and the Bridgestone tyres were working well, which allowed me to set fast lap times that were also quite consistent.

"Of course it's a bumpy circuit, but we know this is going to be the case so you come here prepared for that - it's not a big problem. Braking is very important at this circuit and it can make a big difference in the race because you need to be able to overtake into the slow corners at the end of the straights. We can improve on this area and we'll continue to work on the set-up tomorrow. Overall, I'm pleased with our start to the weekend."

On the other side of the factory Honda garage, Andrea Dovizioso claimed sixth position.

"It's really good to get out on track again because it's been more than a three week-break since Misano. It actually takes a little while to get back into the groove after this time away but I'm pretty confident that we can have a good race here," said the Italian, who recently switched to Ohlins suspension.

"This afternoon we struggled a little bit with the rear of the machine, which meant my ultimate lap time wasn't quite where I wanted it to be, so this is the area we're going to be focusing on to find some improvements.

"The tight, slow corners at this track together with the bumps seem to amplify the issue because the rear is working a lot. Still, this means we have the potential to close on the riders in front, and that's what we'll be gunning for in tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions."

Meanwhile, team manager Kazuhiko Yamano hinted at technical progress since the last round.

"It's been quite a long break since the last race at Misano and the Repsol Honda Team has not been standing still," he said. "We've continued to work very hard in order to close in on our rivals in the final four races of the season.

"It was a positive start to the weekend for us in the session this afternoon and Dani was at, or very close to, the front for the whole practice. Andrea also worked well with his team and there is more to come from him too I'm sure.

"It's a bumpy surface here and so achieving the optimum machine set-up takes some time. With that in mind, we should be able to make further progress tomorrow."