After testing the Pramac Ducati at Mugello Sylvain Guintoli admitted it would be tough to re-adapt to MotoGP at such short notice - and he now has one less track session in which to do so.
The injured Loris Capirossi got back on his Desmosedici during Friday's first practice at the Sachsenring, but the pain proved too much and he handed his GP11 to Guintoli for the rest of the weekend.
World Superbike rider Guintoli, whose last MotoGP start was at Valencia 2008, finished the afternoon session 17th and last, 3.739sec behind Simoncelli and 1.660sec from 16th placed Elias.
But the Frenchman maintained his usual positive attitude:
"Apart from my lap time, I can't complain. The goal for this weekend is to improve session by session in order to find the right feeling with the bike heading into the race.
"I had some difficulties, of course, but I'm happy to be here and to be racing in MotoGP. It was fun, and I'm sure that tomorrow I'll improve my time and position."”
Countryman and regular Pramac rider Randy de Puniet was a morale-boosting eighth fastest, at a track where he broke his leg last year.
"I'm pretty satisfied with this first day, as it's been since Jerez that we haven't had such a good position in the results," he said. "In the afternoon, we worked even better than we did in the morning.
"The feeling with the bike has improved, and we also finally had some good weather. Tomorrow we'll work on other areas, and we hope that the whole weekend will be positive. For me, it's a pleasure to be in the group of riders who are currently going faster than the rest."