Fresh from his first podium of the season, last Saturday at Assen, Casey Stoner began his Catalunya weekend on the 'right foot' and without any signs of the arm pump he has struggled with at the last two events.
The Ducati rider concluded Friday practice with the second fastest lap time, just 0.153sec from Fiat Yamaha's runaway title leader Jorge Lorenzo.
“I'm very happy about today. We started off on the right foot and so far I've had no problems with my arm – we just need to spend a little more time on the set-up of the bike but at this point of the weekend we have to be happy with it,” said the 2007 world champion.
“It feels good and it's easy to ride but we still have a long way to go before we start setting the lap times we think will be necessary. We have to work a little bit more with the rear set-up and the gearbox and I think if we can get better in those areas we'll notice a big improvement overall.
“It is very hot here but the tyres are working well and our bike works in a different temperature range to the others, which could work to our advantage.”
Team-mate Nicky Hayden was eighth fastest as he sought to find grip, and balance engine mileage.
“It wasn't a great first session for us – we struggled a lot for rear grip,” said the American. “On the edge of the tyre I had no traction and I was losing a lot of time. Towards the end we got it a little bit better but it was quite a tricky session to be honest.
“We were trying to manage one engine and put more miles on it whilst the other one felt a little better so that was tough. It's not a great start for us but at least I feel like I'm not on the limit yet. There is a lot of room for improvement and we have a lot of work to do tomorrow because we're 1.1 seconds off the pace and that is a lot.”