Marco Simoncelli may have thrown away another potential MotoGP podium away at the previous wet Silverstone race, but he showed no fear of the rain as he splashed to the top in practice at Assen on Thursday.
The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider was quickest by 0.360sec over nearest rival Valentino Rossi (Ducati) at the end of the 45-minute session, which proved to be the only MotoGP action of the day when FP2 was cancelled due to an oil spill.
Friday morning's FP3 will now be extended to 90-minutes, to make up for the lost track time.
“It is a shame that we couldn't ride this afternoon because of the track conditions but we will be able to make up for it with the extra time tomorrow," said Simoncelli.
"This morning I went very well on a very wet track and we were able to get valuable data and a feeling for the track. I am happy and I can't wait for tomorrow to get back on the bike.
"We will try something with the front-end set-up and some electronic solutions but already we have good traction and stability on the rear.”
Simoncelli's temporary team-mate Kousuke Akiyoshi, drafted into the squad after Hiroshi Aoyama was called up to replace Dani Pedrosa at the factory Repsol Honda team, finished the day 16th out of the 17 riders.
The Japanese test rider, who was 4.317sec slower than Simoncelli, is making his first grand prix appearance since Catalunya last year.
”I am happy to have this opportunity and delight to be working with such a professional team, who made me feel comfortable straight away," said Akiyoshi. "My feeling with the bike is good and I hope to improve my position tomorrow.”