Pol Espargaro has no reservations that he can make a marked improvement on Saturday at Motegi in Japan after lapping ninth fastest on Friday.

Espargaro, who has fond memories of the Twin Ring circuit where he celebrated his Moto2 World title success in 2013, set a time of 1m 45.597s to finish just over three tenths behind team-mate Brady Smith in fifth on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1.

"It was a bit of a tricky opening day for me at Motegi and we struggled in a few areas, but I am certain that we can turn everything around for the vital qualifying session tomorrow," he said.

"Our biggest issue is that there was a low grip level and when this happens, we suffer more than most. Having said that, we managed to undertake some good work and we have a direction to work towards tomorrow.

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"Moreover, we will now check the other Yamaha's data in order to understand where we can make up a few more tenths. The lap time itself is a solid base to start from, yet it is further back compared to where I want to be," Espargaro added.

"However, we have still two more days and I am fully confident that we can get to where we need to be in Sunday's Japanese GP."