A late crash in qualifying did little to dent Pol Espargaro's confidence after the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider set the fifth fastest time during MotoGP qualifying at Mugello.

Espargaro, the reigning Moto2 world champion, also fell on Friday but the Spaniard only saw positives from another strong day.

"We are fifth on the grid and that's really good," said Espargaro, whose lap time was just 0.342s from Marc Marquez and pole.

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"I feel so good with the bike and I'm improving, but what is difficult for me at the moment is understanding the power of the bike in some places and the team are helping me a lot and we are adjusting the bike so well."

Espargaro, who held a podium place on his way to an eventual fourth last time in France, added: "I hope that tomorrow I can have a race similar to Le Mans because I enjoyed that so much and I want that here at Mugello too."

When asked about his fall Espargaro said that it came as a result of a cold front tyre and pushing too hard in the early stages of his out-lap to get the harder compound tyre up to temperature for one final qualifying effort:

"I pushed too hard on the exit of the pitbox to try and get the front tyre up to temperature. It was a hard [compound] tyre and the front tyre closed and I crashed."

Team-mate Bradley Smith will start seventh.