Marc Marquez has been forced to adapt his riding style to counteract the high kerbs of the Catalunya circuit, with the Repsol Honda rider finishing fourth quickest on day one in Barcelona.

The defending MotoGP world champion, who has dominated the series this year by winning the opening six races from pole position, ended the first free practice sessions 0.602 seconds down on pace-setter Aleix Espargaro and 0.144s behind fellow Honda rider Stefan Bradl on the LCR machine.

Marquez was down in seventh position in FP1 but improved in the afternoon to climb the leaderboard and later admitted he was finding the kerbs at Catalunya something of a hindrance.

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"Here, it is so difficult with the high kerbs and for me when I am so close to the kerb, you need to close your elbow and I don't like - but for everybody [it is] the same and you have to manage and you try to change your riding style," said Marquez.

"This morning we start with the base [setting] and for some reason I feel much different, but in the afternoon we made a change and that maybe made the difference.

"Of course it is difficult to have the perfect bike; know that if you want to have a quick turn, a tight turn, then you lose a little bit of stability. In Mugello it was important for the change of direction and also to have a quick bike, but maybe I lost a little bit of stability," he added.

"I need to push a little bit more and I'm prepared to work a bit more with the bike. In the first session I found things a little difficult, but in the second session we improved and this has led to us having a clear direction to go in tomorrow.

"I think this is the most important thing to take from today."