World Superstock qualifying was declared a wet session.
As nobody was able to go faster than yesterday, the results from QP1 stand. While some riders went out in an attempt to get some data and improve their wet settings, most teams spend most of the time in the pits.
Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class at Estoril:
Casey Stoner will start from pole for Sunday's MotoGP race at Estoril, setting the fastest lap in the final minutes of an incident-packed session. Stoner's advantage over teammate Dani Pedrosa is minimal, and not much bigger over surprise 3rd place man Cal Crutchlow, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man grabbing his second front-row start of the season.
Like last weekend at Assen, it's a wet Superpole. Two 20-minute sessions, sixteen riders in the first session and the top eight in the second. The track was most noticeably damp in the Parabolica, the 180-degree last corner, but most of the chicanes appeared to be more challenging than usual.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class at Estoril:
Sandro Cortese will start from pole for the Moto3 Portugese Grand Prix on Sunday, after largely dominating qualifying for the smallest class. While Maverick Vinales and Miguel Oliveira got close to Cortese throughout QP, Cortese was always able to respond, ending the session with an advantage of over three tenths over Vinales. The Spaniard will start from 2nd on the grid, with local hero Oliveira completing the grid.
A white flag with a red cross was out for most of the session, indicating rain on certain portions of the track.
Maxime Berger did what looked impossible at one point; he put a Ducati at the top of the timing sheet for quite a few minutes as he was the only rider circulating for a good ten minutes, with only the visiting Sergio Gadea putting in anywhere close to as many laps as Berger.
Marc Marquez has ended the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class at Estoril on top of the timesheets, leading the session by a very comfortable margin, having put a third of a second over the rest of the field. Thomas Luthi took 2nd spot, the Swiss rider in turn nearly four tenths of Scott Redding. Pol Espargaro finished the session in 4th spot, ahead of a much improved Julian Simon and French Moto2 rookie Johann Zarco.
With conditions improving rapidly for the MotoGP class, times are starting to drop, though the damp patch in the final corner is still making life complicated for the big bikes. Whatever the conditions, the Hondas are still fast, and Dani Pedrosa was the fastest of the lot. The Repsol Honda man ended the final session of free practice just over a hundredth of a second ahead of his teammate Casey Stoner to end FP3 on top of the timesheet.
Broc Parkes heads to qualifying with the best practice time while Jules Cluzel makes a welcome appearance near the top of the sheets. Sam Lowes doesn't go faster than yesterday, but was still third fastest. Kenan Sofuoglu was fastest throughout the earlier part of the session and seems to have a better setup for mutable conditions.
Cruciani gets an impressive 5th again, but with the patchy skies and probable rain, we're left wondering why nobody called Lorenzo Lanzi.
Maverick Vinales has taken charge of the final session of free practice for the Moto3 class at Estoril, just holding off Sandro Cortese to top the timesheet. Miguel Oliveira, who led for much of the session, finished FP3 in 3rd, fractionally ahead of Danny Kent and Luis Salom.
Conditions for FP3 were much improved from yesterday, but water is still seeping through the final corner and creating damp patches in the crucial Parabolica. With the whole day expected to be dry, the riders will be hoping the damp patches disappear as the day goes on.
After overnight rain, riders were not eager to get out on the drying track. Eventually, a few laps were put in to get settings and data, but nobody improved on their times from yesterday.
There appears to be a new rule of thumb for gauging the weather: If there's a motorcycle race on, then chances are it will be raining, at least for some of the time. After a weekend of climate-curtailed practice 7 days ago at Jerez, the weather looks like being a major factor at Estoril as well. Though no rain fell during any of the 9 sessions of practice - two Moto3, two Moto2, two MotoGP and three Red Bull Rookies - took place, the rain was still very much a factor.
Today, the weather behaved itself and let Monza be the speed-trap it was designed to be. Michel Fabrizio's provisional pole lap time on his BMW included a 334.8kmh (209mph) dash through the speed trap, equalling the previous fastest time of Max Biaggi's damned fast Aprilia, and BMWs ruled the roost all day. Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam spend most of the qualifying session at the sharp end, duelling on paper with Tom Sykes, who lost out top non-BMW to Aprilia's Eugene Laverty.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Estoril:
Crutchlow continues red-hot form in Estoril
Cal Crutchlow's phenomenal start to the 2012 MotoGP World Championship continued in impressive fashion in Portugal this afternoon, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider finishing third quickest after the opening two practice sessions.