Pol Espargaro is aiming to raise his game on Saturday after an 'emotional' opening day of practice for the Catalunya MotoGP.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was eighth on the combined times with a lap in 1m 42.608s as he gears up for his home race.

Reigning Moto2 world champion Espargaro, whose time was half a second behind team-mate Bradley Smith in second place, said: "I believe we can be satisfied with our performance today. The first sessions are always tricky for us as I need to understand the lines and get the feeling of how to ride a MotoGP bike on the track and especially here it has been an emotional start, as its just so close from where I have grown up.

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"But finishing fifth this afternoon, whilst improving our lap times also with the hotter conditions, is really positive and gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow," he added.

"It goes without saying that we still have a margin to improve and also Bradley doing such a great job during the second session which proves that we can definitely go faster, but we will check the data now to understand what we need to change to be even more competitive tomorrow."