Randy de Puniet was finally able to manage a smile in what has been a difficult season so far after the Pramac Racing team had one if their most competitive weekends so far.

De Puniet has struggled with the Ducati all year with only one top-ten finish to his name, but the 30 year old was just 0.812s off the pace in eighth position on Friday at the Sachsenring. The improved performance handed the Frenchman a much-needed confidence boost and he is hoping to continue the momentum tomorrow.

“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. 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.”

The Pramac squad will field an all-French rider line-up this weekend as Sylvain Guintoli substitutes for Loris Capirossi. The experienced Italian took part in FP1 for the first time since injuring himself at Assen but was subsequently ruled out of the rest of the event on medical grounds.

Guintoli returns to MotoGP for the first time since 2008 and is taking a cautious approach to his comeback, not making any bold predictions just yet.

“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.”

The Sachsenring circuit is among the shortest on the calendar and Randy De Puniet's Track Engineer, Marco Rigamonti, feels every tenth of a second will be crucial on such a short lap.

“It seems that the bike works well at this circuit. We mainly worked on the electronics setup, and we also compared the old frame with the new one. The difference between the two doesn't seem big, but we should really try it on a track where the bike has problems. Surprisingly, we didn't have many today. We'll work on our consistency for the race, also trying to sneak a few more tenths off the time, which makes a difference when times are so close.”