Marco Simoncelli made a perfect start to the German MotoGP weekend by leading both of Friday's free practice sessions at the Sachsenring.
Simoncelli - a front row qualifier at the last six events, including two poles - was 0.181sec faster than world championship leader Casey Stoner in the crash-packed morning session.
The #58 then edged out Yamaha's reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo by 0.095sec in the afternoon.
“Everything is going well although I am not totally happy because we have some rear traction problems on the left side that we are struggling to resolve," said Simoncelli, who is still chasing his first MotoGP podium.
"It seems everybody is in the same boat but we will be working mainly on this area tomorrow to try and improve the situation. Our other main aim is to get a clear idea about tyre choice for Sunday's race.
"30 laps is a lot here, especially because there is barely a single straight for you to relax on.”
After a nightmare run of race-day incidents, Simoncelli and San Carlo Honda Gresini know that practice and qualifying form can count for little.
But team manager Fausto Gresini couldn't help but be encouraged by such a perfect start to the ninth round of the year.
"Marco has once again demonstrated outstanding potential," he said. "We have a few small set-up issues to solve tomorrow, but Marco is happy and we know he is constantly trying his best to improve. I am happy with today's performance and confident for the rest of the weekend. ”
Simoncelli's satellite team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama was 15th fastest after his first day on a MotoGP bike in Germany.
”I had never ridden a MotoGP bike at Sachsenring before but I quite like the track," said Aoyama. "Unfortunately I am still in quite a lot of pain from the Assen crash but little by little I am gaining confidence. Grip levels are not high so we will have to try and work in this area as much as possible to make up ground and positions tomorrow. ”