MotoGP title leader Jorge Lorenzo returned to the top of the timesheets during the first premier-class track session held at Silverstone since 1986.
Lorenzo had been off-form at the previous Mugello race - finishing a distant second to Dani Pedrosa as he struggled to come to terms with the implications of team-mate and reigning MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi's leg-breaking accident - but took to the new British MotoGP track with aplomb.
The Fiat Yamaha rider moved steadily up the Friday practice order to take the lead of the session after 46 minutes of the hour.
A further improvement made the double 2010 winner the only rider to break the 2min 6sec mark and by the time rain cut the session short Lorenzo was holding a slim 0.142sec advantage over Ducati's Casey Stoner.
Lorenzo set an average speed of 168.640km/h and a top speed of 307.1km/h (Pedrosa led the top speeds with 310.8km/h)
"I'm happy with our first day's work here at Silverstone and I've really enjoyed the new circuit; it's fast and fun to ride,” said Lorenzo. “We've worked really hard and I've ridden a lot of laps in order to begin to understand every corner and every straight.
“Unfortunately it was cold today and the asphalt was cold too, which meant that without any reference points in the beginning it was quite difficult, but hopefully tomorrow and Sunday will be better. Then in the last three minutes it started to rain so we decided to stop.
“We made a good start and then step-by-step I improved, so I think we are in good shape for a good race weekend. We will continue in the same way tomorrow and aim for the front row."
"The target was to learn the track in a safe way and Jorge did well in this task, starting gently and learning step-by-step, without forcing himself into mistakes,” added team manager Wilco Zeelenberg.
“The bike feels great with some really good points and some that could be a bit better - for example in the exit of the corners - but we are in good shape.
“We think we can improve more but we're already feeling strong. Tomorrow everyone will know the track better and therefore be faster but hopefully we will be too!"
Pedrosa, who starts round five 25 points behind Lorenzo, was sixth quickest.