In race trim Espargaro seems to be in contention for a good result, however, it will mean nothing if the rider third in the MotoGP standings can’t secure a Q2 spot.

And after Friday’s running, Espargaro has just one more opportunity to try and advance directly through to Q2, although FP3 could see rain which would all-but guarantee a Q1 appearance.

Following a disastrous Japanese MotoGP where Espargaro was relegated to a pit lane start after issues on the formation lap, getting the better of Francesco Bagnaia and Fabio Quartararo is arguably a must this weekend.

With that said, Ducati seemed to have the advantage on day-one which is why Espargaro is eager to see steps forward made.

Espargaro added: "Was not an easy day. We improved from the morning to the afternoon but not enough. My pace is not a disaster, I’m just losing two or three tenths in terms of pace. 

"But in terms of fast laps [qualifying run] I lost too much. I finished eighth in the afternoon but with the combined session it’s not enough to be top ten. 

"I think Marc [Marquez] is just faster than me without [including] the Ducatis so we have to improve. We have no traction, we are spinning a lot and for a long, long time. 

"I don’t remember the last time [it was like this], I think it was Brno the last time I had this feeling. We have to improve but my feeling is that I’m not riding that bad. But on a couple of accelerations I have no grip at all." 

2023 MotoGP calendar ‘very demanding’ - Espargaro

With the provisional 2023 MotoGP calendar officially released, which includes new races in Kazakhstan and India, day-one in Buriram was unsurprisingly dominated by what riders thought of the new schedule.

Two separate triple-headers will take place to close out the championship, making it one of the most intense ends to a season ever.

One of those asked about it was Espargaro, who said: "Very tough, the calendar next year will be very demanding. The last part of the year will be very tough with two times three consecutive races far from home will be very demanding physically, mentally. 

"With the Sprint races and new tracks - very demanding calendar, sincerely. But it is how it is and I will try to organise as much as possible with my team, my family. 

"I have a feeling that the last part will be very demanding for the riders and for everyone in the paddock."