Cal Crutchlow felt he had the pace to challenge the MotoGP front three on Saturday but was left rueing a fall early in Q2 that scuppered his chances of a first front row start since 2014.

Having placed inside the top five on Friday, Crutchlow struggled to find confidence with Michelin's front tyre compounds throughout Saturday as track conditions improved on the first day of free practice.

The 30-year old also noted that his RC213V is currently struggling with top speed, especially in the Termas de Rio Hondo track's second sector, and feels Marc Marquez's speed is only achieved through risking a lot, as the Catalan's two crashes on Saturday underlined.

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"Obviously I'm really disappointed because I had a great pace," said Crutchlow. "I felt I could have been on the front row. I was holding something back all weekend and thought I would push in qualifying then when I pushed I crashed. But it was completely my own fault. I braked too deep. With the front tire you can't take a risk.

"I took a bit of a risk, tried to make the corner and crashed. I should have braked earlier and I paid for the mistake as my second bike was not set up as we would have liked. I had to salvage a third row. In the end I wasn't too pleased. We are struggling for speed again. We're losing so much in sector two, which is one straight and one corner. Even to the Suzuki we're losing a lot. We're last and the Honda is struggling in that area.

"As we've seen from Marc. He's fast but he's also on the floor. It's the same with me and Jack. Dani is the only one that doesn't have to risk because he doesn't push the front tyre like us. A disappointing day but a positive one because I have the speed to be at the front tomorrow. I'll be pushing at the start of the race, that's for sure.

On the tyre issues that have come to dominate Saturday's headlines in Argentina, Crutchlow continued, "With the rear, I'm not saying we have no problem... We feel quite good with the rear to be honest. We know one of the riders had a problem but most of the other guys said it was not too bad a problem. The front seems to be more the issue. It could be the nature of this circuit.

"In some races in the rain last year we could give more brake pressure than in the dry [this year]. It just shows that some circuits it works very well with the bikes and some not. But it's a learning process for the riders, Michelin and the manufacturers and we have to find the right balance."