MotoGP rookie Pol Espargaro improved on his qualifying position to finish eighth in Argentina, but the young Spanish rider has set his sights higher in his debut year in the premier class.

Espargaro battled with his Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Bradley Smith in the first half of the race until the British rider stretched clear, although the Catalan eventually caught and passed Andrea Dovizioso on lap 19 to move into eighth.

"Of course, it was not a bad race at all, but eighth position is not what I'm aiming for. Especially because I had a really good feeling and a positive rhythm this morning in warm-up," said Espargaro.

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"However, for some reason I didn't feel the same at the beginning of the race, possibly because of the full fuel tank so it was a bit harder to manoeuvre the bike around the high speed corners.

"As a result, the start and the opening laps were difficult for me and after just a few rounds I was already alone," he added.

"Later on I tried to stay with Bradley, but he was getting stronger and I did not feel too confident with my rear tyre, so I decided not to push any harder and risk crashing out.

"The positive we can take from today is that we have been getting stronger towards the end of the race, and closing in on the riders in front."

The reigning Moto2 world champion is now looking forward to his home race at Jerez in Spain next weekend and has vowed to be 'patient' as he continues to adapt to the YZR-M1.

"It is still a big learning process, but we have to be patient, taking it race by race and continue working," he said.

"Luckily in just a few days of time I will already be back on the bike, trying to fight with the other satellite bikes and aiming for a better result."