MotoGP rookie Ben Spies will start his first ever race at Estoril from a promising fifth on the grid, but frustrated by the loss of two of the four practice sessions so far this weekend.

Bad weather made Friday's first practice a washout, then Saturday's qualifying was cancelled altogether, leaving Spies with only two hours of wet riding so far this weekend.

Whilst admitting conditions were totally unrideable this afternoon, Spies regretted not having the chance to try a radical set-up on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike.

"There was no way we could have ridden this afternoon. There is nothing we could have done about it but it is frustrating for me having missed the first session too because of the weather when I need to be doing laps to get more accustomed to the track," said the Texan.

"It's a shame too this afternoon because we were looking to make big strides with the bike. I don't have a lot of time on this bike in the rain so we've basically been running a softer version of my dry setting. But I've been told there's quite a radical change that Yamaha think would really help me and I didn't get chance to try it.

"That's a bit unfortunate because I was told the bike would feel better and I was already pretty confident in the rain. That said I've still a good starting position in fifth [thanks to his best free practice time] so learning the track quickly yesterday helped me out a lot.

"We can't do anything about the weather so we'll wake up tomorrow, see what the skies have for us and go for it wet or dry. I don't feel like we'll be miles off even if it is dry and I've never ridden in full dry conditions at this track."

Team-mate Colin Edwards, who had a crash on Friday afternoon, will start ninth, but had been fifth fastest in the slower Saturday morning session.

"It is a little bit annoying to be on the third row of the grid because I was looking good yesterday before the crash and this morning I was fifth quickest," he said. "I missed out yesterday when the track conditions were better than at any other stage this weekend because of the crash and I'm sure I could have been much higher up the grid. But there was no way we could have gone out in those conditions.

"It was impossible so I'm not going to get too upset about it and just look forward to the race. I feel if it is wet tomorrow that I'm going to be really strong because the rain setting is working really good. If it is dry I'm confident and I'm sure I will be able to come through the field and get a good result. I guess the worst case scenario is if it is a wet warm-up and then a dry race but I feel ready rain or shine."

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