It may not have been a pole position but Aleix Espargaro believes his emotions on Friday afternoon exceeded those of Barcelona two weeks before as he secured second place on the MotoGP grid at Assen.

The Catalan wasn't happy with his pace on Thursday afternoon but spent all of Friday on the softer compound rear tyre, posting an incredible 1m 32.85s lap time in Q2 despite finishing outside the top ten at the close of FP3.

The elder Espargaro brother was only beaten in the afternoon by Valentino Rossi and revealed he was amazed at the time considering the different character of the softer rear compound Bridgestone brought to Holland.

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"The level is really high," he said at the qualifying press conference. "You can make no mistakes in any session. I'm P2 now but I was not able to be top ten this morning. Everything is really tight. I feel great with the second place, maybe better than Barcelona [in] pole position because in Barcelona from FP1 I was really strong.

"In the FP1 I felt very bad, not with a good feeling with the bike. We completely change the bike a lot. Finally in FP4 I had a good pace with the used tyre and I did a really good lap. I'm really happy with the progression during the weekend.

"It's strange this weekend. Bridgestone changed the tyre and yesterday we tried both and the difference was one tenth. No difference between these tyres. This afternoon I did twenty laps with the soft and it was perfect. I was not expecting this fast lap in the qualifying. As I said there is no big difference. When I saw my time, a 32.8 I was a little bit in shock."

Asked whether he feels he can race the soft tyre, Espargaro admits the rear option represents a risk, despite the two compounds having a great deal in common.

"If tomorrow is not really sunny we can think to race with the soft. It's just on the right side a little bit softer so it gives us one or two tenths faster at the beginning. So maybe we'll take the risk.

"Sincerely today I didn't try the hard one because yesterday I did the same time with both. They have the same grip. The soft is not really soft, we spin more than always. It's the tyre we have. Today I just tried to work with the used soft. We did a lot of laps and the drop is normal. There's one corner behind the back straight where you have to be careful with the spin. If it's not really hot we will maybe try to race with the soft but there is no big difference."

In just his eighth round as an official Suzuki rider since the firm's return to the premier class, Espargaro has posted three front row qualifying performances.

After his nightmare start at Barcelona, where he fell from pole position to eighth in a matter of seconds, the 25-year old feels the proximity of the first corner to the start line at Assen will be of help.

"In Barcelona sincerely the start was frustrating. We checked my start and Maverick, it was quite good in first [gear]. When we put second and third everybody started to overtake us. I risk a lot at the beginning but Dovi already had a big space. I use a lot the front tyre and then in the last part of the race I paid for this.

"In Aragon [testing] we try a lot of different maps to avoid this problem. We improve a little bit but for me tomorrow the first corner is much closer [to the start line]. Let's see if at least we can arrive in the top five."