Tech 3's Xavier Simeon was buoyant after a much improved display in qualifying for the Portuguese Moto2 Grand Prix at Estoril.

After qualifying 35th in Qatar and 32nd in Spain, the Belgian was hoping to make progress in the four week break since Jerez and that was exactly what he did.

Simeon qualified in 21st position and, more encouragingly, was just 1.529s away from the pole position pace set by Stefan Bradl.

And the 21-year-old admitted he felt much more comfortable on the Mistral 610 this weekend and was happy with the bike in all weather conditions.

“We improved a lot since Jerez” he said. “I did a lot of training during the break. We also worked on the settings of the bike to improve my confidence as I had a really bad feeling before. Now we are improving and this morning when it was half wet and half dry it was so much better than in Jerez already.

Simeon also split the two other Tech 3 riders, Bradley Smith and Mike Di Meglio, who will start 15th and 26th respectively, and the Belgian believes the gap between him and Smith proves that progress has been made.

“We did not put new tyres, so we were still behind the classification, but for the qualifying session we had enough tyres and then I could ride a better lap time. I am also not far from Bradley, only 4 tenths of a second, which makes me really happy. I am 21st on the grid, not 32 like at the race before. Now we have to keep concentrating as the more important is the day tomorrow.”

One of the question marks hanging over this weekend's events has been the weather, and the riders will be keen to see the condition of the track that greets them in the warm-up tomorrow morning. The 26 lap race will kick off tomorrow's action at 11:15 BST, with the MotoGP and 125cc races following later in the afternoon.