Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez held sway on day one of the Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island but expects a strong charge from factory Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo on Saturday.

Marquez sealed the top spot in FP2 by 0.050s from Lorenzo in the dying moments of the session and has been encouraged by his performance in the opening free practice sessions, although the outgoing world champion says the handling of the RC213V is still far from perfect.

"Today was a good day, we enjoyed and we improved the set-up, which was the most important. We did the correct steps and decide," he said.

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"Still, tomorrow, we must improve a lot because it looks like Yamaha riders - especially Jorge [Lorenzo] - are really fast, so we are trying to work harder to understand well.

"I think everybody is struggling [for rear grip], but the thing is that during the season we are struggling always so here we are used to these slides but at the moment the rear grip is where we are trying to fix.

"Already last year the grip was not there and even if it is colder, steering is more difficult and this is normal," Marquez added.

"I think for the qualifying practice and also for the race, the Open bikes can be closer at this circuit because we cannot use the power because we are sliding a lot, so Suzuki and some Open bikes can be close."

Elaborating on the difference between his RCV from last season and this year's bike, Marquez - who is riding with an injured hand after breaking the fifth metacarpal in his left hand following a mountain bike training accident - said the set-up issues were proving more troublesome to resolve.

"Basically it's more difficult [on this year's bike] to fix; when everything is fixed you can be competitive but at the moment we struggling at other circuits with sliding on the entry and the aggressive torque on the exit, but we are trying to adjust the electronics," he said.

"The hand today is not so bad but it was more painful that I expect because the stitches opened but we are trying to fix with Dr [Xavier] Mir and I think it will not be a big problem for the weekend."

Marquez also gave the thumbs-up to Bridgestone's upgraded asymmetric front tyre, which he says could be 'interesting' for Sunday's race.

"I think it is better compared to last year; last year the asymmetric was also working good but at the end of the race there were many, many crashes because maybe the centre of the tyre was too hard for the brake points," he said.

"Now, it looks like a very similar feeling compared to last year, but the centre is softer and it gives to you a better feeling. At the moment, it can be an interesting tyre for Sunday."