LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow finished free practice strongly in Argentina on day one despite being held on up his fast lap.

The British rider lapped in 1m 39.403s to go fourth fastest as he got to grips with the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit after missing last year's race due to the hand injuries he sustained in a spill in Austin.

"Today I was pleased enough. I never raced here last year, so to get familiar with the track was important. I knew where the track went from the test when we did twenty laps here two years ago, so that's good," said Crutchlow, who was 0.627s off the fastest time posted by Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro.

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"But the track today was really slippy, as it was last year, and as it was with the test. Then we just got familiar with the track, and we did the best job that we could. I worked with the hard tyre a lot during that session, and in the end we put in the soft, same as everybody else.

"But we need to improve in the third sector," he added. "It seems like the Suzuki is incredible in that sector, because Espargaro and [Maverick] Vi?ales are first and second in that sector. This is where we need to improve with the Honda also.

"I got held up on my fast lap in the final sector, which is my strongest sector all day. I was confident we could have had a good last sector and been even quicker than what we are," Crutchlow said.

"We need to work hard this weekend because last weekend was not what we needed."

Crutchlow highlighted a lack of grip as his main issue with the RC213V so far and said he achieved his goal of finishing inside the top 10 on day one in case the rain arrived on Saturday.

"We think lack of grip [is an issue in third sector]," Crutchlow said. "If we can improve the grip in that sector it would be better, but I don't think we can take too much from today's practice, because it's the same for everybody: sliding around a lot.

"Overall, we needed to make sure we were in the top ten today in case it rained, and we did. But I think we were well inside it anyway, even with the hard tyre. This is good, and it's a good start to the weekend.

"We had some problems. I was pleased last weekend to get some points and finish seventh, rather than not getting any points at all," he added.

"But seventh is not where we should have been last week. We know the reason why, and we think this weekend we can be a lot stronger."