MotoGP rookie Bradley Smith was a highly impressive fourth quickest in opening practice for the Valencia season finale.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider played down the result, saying it was set on a new tyre, but was then able to lap even quicker in the afternoon - and only dropped a further 0.2s to pace setter Marc Marquez.

Smith finished FP2 in eighth place, 0.764s from the Repsol Honda title leader.

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"The great thing about today is that I felt immediately comfortable on the bike," said Smith. "This morning's fourth position though made the situation look a bit better than it probably was because I put in a brand new tyre right at the end of the session to set my fastest time.

"This afternoon I was able to improve again and it was good because we got time on the soft and hard Bridgestone options to assess both for the race.

"I suppose that this is the closest and most comfortable [first day of practice]. We had a really good day in Philip Island when we started, but the nice thing about today is that whereas in Philip Island we had a good first session and didn't make a step forward that the other's made into the second session we made a good step in the second session today.

"We're starting to understand my feedback and the feeling that I want the bike to have. The hard tyre is a big step forward from Bridgestone and a big step for us. I've never had a positive from the hard tyre and to be able to ride faster on the hard tyre compared to this morning was much better.

"The wind was really bad in the afternoon and it was tough. Turns one and two had a crosswind and then coming back around into four was really difficult."

Team-mate Cal Crutchlow took over fourth in the afternoon.