Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith got the chance to study the upgraded Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro during Monday's official MotoGP test at Catalunya.

Suzuki, returning to MotoGP this season, grabbed the qualifying headlines by claiming first and second on the Catalunya grid. Race day was less spectacular, with pole sitter Espargaro falling from fourth and rookie team-mate Maverick Vinales crossing the line in sixth.

But there were no negatives in terms of the latest engine parts, which provided a modest increase in top speed, improved power delivery and didn't detract from the GSX-RR's impressive handling.

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Smith, fastest at the rain-shortened Monday test, offered the following comparison with his YZR-M1:

"In the straight I would say that they only lose in sixth gear," Smith said. "Before maybe [they lost] five or six bike lengths and now it's down to two bike lengths. I came out of the corner more or less the same and I didn't pass him [Espargaro] in the slipstream.

"They've certainly improved the engine and from chassis point of view it just seems that they are able to roll through the corner quite well. Their edge grip is really good."

Is their edge grip better than yours?

"Yeah absolutely. I'm able to go in a little bit faster on the front, but I have to kind of sit in the middle of the corner a little bit longer," Smith replied. "I saw it in Austin. In Austin [Espargaro] rode round the inside of me through the long right handers, which is all on maximum lean.

"Also I followed him for most of the race here and that seems to be where they've got the big advantage. I'm sure with that positive comes some negatives and it looks like corner exit is difficult for them in some places, but they've done a good job.

"At the end of the day it's good to see a manufacturer come in and be competitive in their first year. It's going to encourage more new manufacturers in the future."

KTM is scheduled to be the next manufacturer to join MotoGP, in 2017.