Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Pol Espargaro finished ahead of factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi as the MotoGP rookie made a bright start at Aragon.

Espargaro was particularly satisfied with his feeling with the satellite M1 and is in optimistic mood ahead of Sunday's race, even if he expects Movistar Yamaha pair Lorenzo and Rossi to drastically improve their pace tomorrow.

His fastest lap in 1m 48.966s put him 0.028s behind his brother Aleix on the Open class Forward Yamaha and only two tenths behind Dani Pedrosa in third.

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"Today was a really positive way to kick of the weekend for me. My feeling with the bike was good from the word go, which could partly be due to the fact that I've ridden a lot of races here, but for whatever reason all the movements felt truly natural," said Espargaro.

"I was able to run competitive lap times which kept me on the virtual podium for the majority of the session this afternoon, but still I think Valentino and Jorge's rhythm might be a bit stronger and for sure they will get up to speed tomorrow.

"Also we still have some margin to improve and I'm looking forward to trying the softer tyre compound in FP3 or FP4 as we just ran the harder compound today," he added.

"I know the situation in qualifying will not be an easy one due to the tyre difference with the Ducatis and the Open class bikes but I'm really looking forward to the race on Sunday and I hope that all of our hard work will pay off."

Espargaro's team-mate, Bradley Smith, was ninth fastest with a time of 1m 49.011s.