world champion Jorge Lorenzo, winner from pole during both his previous Estoril MotoGP
appearances, set the fastest lap time during drying conditions at the Portuguese track on Friday afternoon.
This morning's 45-minute session had been a wash-out due to a huge storm, when just four riders left the pits and only Hiroshi Aoyama set a lap time, but conditions improved throughout the afternoon session.
The track remained fully wet, but lap times dropped significantly, ending with Lorenzo's Fiat Yamaha fastest on a 1min 48.522sec. That compares with a 2min 21.217sec by Aoyama in the morning and a dry Estoril lap record of 1min 36.937sec.
Second fastest was Ducati's Nicky Hayden, who was just 0.135sec from Lorenzo, with the second factory M1 of Valentino Rossi
claiming third on his last lap. That was at the expense of Hayden's team-mate Casey Stoner, winner of three of the last four races.
Stoner was 0.599sec behind Lorenzo, but sixth place Ben Spies - the top satellite rider in the session - was 1.199sec behind for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and just ahead of Gresini Honda's Marco Melandri.
LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet
led the wetter early stages before being relegated to seventh, just in front of Melandri's team-mate Marco Simoncelli. Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso
fell on his way to ninth and was 3.8sec from Stoner.
Alvaro Bautista, Colin Edwards
and Hector Barbera also fell.
Former title contender Dani Pedrosa, who withdrew from the recent Australian event after attempting an early return from a broken collarbone, was a cautious 13th fastest.
38-year-old Carlos Checa, who is returning to MotoGP
for the final two rounds in place of Mika Kallio
at Pramac Ducati, was 17th and last.
The Spaniard lapped just under six seconds behind Lorenzo, but was within one-second of twelfth place Edwards.Friday practice (2):
7. de Puniet