MotoGP rookie Cal Crutchlow, who underwent an operation to cure arm pump during the four-week break following Jerez, suffered a big fluid build-up in the healing limb after both of Friday's free practice sessions at Estoril.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider had the fluid drained between sessions, on his way to 13th place - but just one second behind fastest man Marco Simoncelli - at the end of his first day of riding at the Portuguese circuit.

"I'm really happy because to be only a second off the pace on a track I've never seen before gives me a lot of confidence," said Crutchlow. "I honestly feel I should have kept that seventh place because I made a late change to the bike and everybody went quicker.

"I could have gone quicker once I was back on track but I encountered a lot of traffic and it was like a 125 session! I got held up and that cost me at least a couple of tenths, which would have easily put me in the top ten.

"This track is much harder to learn than Jerez. It is quite bumpy and you have to be so precise with your lines that it has been quite difficult. But I'm only 0.5s behind Colin and he has a good record at this track.

"After this morning I didn't think I'd be so fast because I was really struggling with my arm. There was a massive build-up of fluid at the end of the session that I had to get drained and I'm not sure why it has happened.

"I rode a motocross bike last week without any drama, but the brake pressure on a MotoGP bike is incredible. We moved the handlebars out for this afternoon and it was definitely better and I felt more confident on the brakes, but at the end I've got another big fluid bump on my forearm."

Team-mate Colin Edwards, denied a podium finish due to a last-lap technical problem at Jerez, was sixth on Friday.

"We just rolled the bike off the truck and immediately I had a good feeling without having to make any changes," said Edwards.

"I've always gone well at this circuit and I've no idea why, but right out of the gate I felt comfortable on the bike and I was able to lap easily inside the top six for most of both sessions.

"This afternoon I never used the soft tyre and I probably lost a bit of time that would have put my further up the timesheets, but that's not a big issue on Friday.

"We played with the balance of the bike this afternoon a little bit and tried something different with the swingarm that gave me better side grip with the hard tyre.

"I wanted to be open the throttle smoothly and generate some speed and we found a good direction, so I'm happy."



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