Marco Simoncelli is determined not to leave the Estoril MotoGP weekend empty handed after setting the pace in both of Friday's free practice sessions in Portugal.

Still without a MotoGP podium, Simoncelli missed out on third place by 0.059sec as a rookie in last October's Estoril race - and he's still annoyed at crashing out of the lead in the wet Jerez race three weeks ago.

Simoncelli also had a small fall this afternoon, but isn't worried by either of his recent accidents and is confident he won't make the same mistake twice if the rain - that began falling just after the end of second MotoGP practice - continues on Saturday and Sunday.

"The day went well and I am happy," said Simoncelli. "I was fast already in the morning but with few small changes we were able to stay at the top in the afternoon. I had a little crash but I'm not worried because I know exactly what I did wrong.

"I have always gone well at Estoril and so far this year it is looking more than promising. Last year I was in touching distance of the podium so a good result on Sunday would be to improve that 2010 performance by two or three positions.

"In the dry we can be in the mix. We started out with the same setting as Jerez and it went really well. We will have to see what happens in the wet but we shouldn't have the same problems as Jerez. We'll see tomorrow but for today we are happy."

"We are really happy with Marco's position and pace," stated team manager Fausto Gresini. "He is motivated and has a good feeling with the bike. Obviously we have to improve but the base is already very good.

"He had a little crash but it didn't affect the work the team had to do today and he was able to set some good times on his second bike, with a lot of laps on them. Last year he just missed out on the podium and he is still annoyed about what happened at Jerez so these are positive factors for him right now."

Yuki Takahashi completed a dream day for the Gresini team by mirroring Simoncelli's success in the two Moto2 practice sessions.



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