Aleix Espargaro produced a sensational lap at Misano to end free practice in fifth position on the Power Electronics Aspar this afternoon.
Espargaro, who has dominated the CRT class this season, only had the factory Repsol Honda and Yamaha riders ahead of him as his best lap of 1m 34.732 seconds left him just over half-a-second down on Marc Marquez and 0.237s behind Jorge Lorenzo in fourth.
The Spanish rider said: “I am satisfied with how we have started the weekend.
"It is a while since we have had such a good feeling with the bike but I was looking forward to coming here because it's one of my favourite tracks on the calendar and also one of the shortest, so I knew it would suit or bike better.
“We did a great job and on the soft tyre we really closed the gap to the factory machines. I produced a fantastic lap at the end of the second session but we still have a lot of things to improve and hopefully we can make progress before qualifying tomorrow,” he added.
“My feeling and pace on used rubber was surprisingly good today and I don't think we could have made a much better start.”
Espargaro is being linked to the Forward Racing Yamaha ride as well as remaining at Aspar on an upgraded Aprilia for 2014.
Commenting on his contract situation, Espargaro hinted that he wants to move to Forward Racing, but may be prevented from doing so due to his success this season.
Espargaro told MotoGP.com
: "As you all know, I would like to have a better bike for next year, but it is not easy. There is a clause in my contract which obliges me to stay [with the Aspar team] if I end this year as the leading CRT. Obviously, I am a professional rider and I will continue in my attempt to finish first of the CRTs in every race, but it is not easy. It is a delicate situation."
Espargaro, whose brother Pol will join MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha next year, has more than double the points of the next best CRT riders (a tie between Colin Edwards and Hector Barbera) in the 2013 standings.
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