The GASGAS Tech3 rider confirmed there are still areas that could be improved from a safety standpoint - the proximity of trackside walls in the Turn 2-3-4 area had been flagged up ahead of the event - but said the same applies to other circuits already on the calendar.

Pol Espargaro also tips the ex-F1 track to be one of the most fun to ride.

“I walked it two times yesterday. And I ran once this morning,” Espargaro said on Thursday. “Honestly, I think we were a little bit too hard before coming here and seeing what it was really [like]. I think it's much better than we all expected, I believe.

“About safety, for sure there are some things that can be improved. But I believe in all the race tracks in the world there are places where we would like to improve. And here for sure we need to figure it out, especially [what might happen when] racing and crashing.

“There is nothing critical I would say, but for sure there are some places that can be improved.

“But I believe, as I said, that we've been too hard before coming here. And for me looking at the layout and how it's made, it can be one of the funniest of the year, going up and down, the corners are pretty different, there is a lot of banking in some corners. It's something different and it looks it looks very, very fun.”

RNF’s Miguel Oliveira, winner of the previous debut MotoGP races in Portimao (2020) and Mandalika (2022), said of his first impressions: “Yes, it’s good. It's an interesting layout. Has a big straight, but the rest looks very fun. It looks from the outside safe enough for us to ride. So looks promising. Tomorrow we'll see.”

LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami hadn’t had chance to walk the track yet: “This afternoon I will walk together with my team to check how is the layout.

“I saw the layout last time in Misano, during the Safety Commission, and it looked really nice, but the question mark is safety… In some areas, it looked like the wall is too close. But let's see, I mean the first impression looks OK.”

Luca Marini also hadn’t yet had time to walk the track but said all the riders are likely to meet this (Thursday) evening as previously planned:

“I don't know very well because I don't follow the [riders’ WhatsApp group] chat because they are writing a lot of messages! I'm a little bit in delay, so let's see. But looks like we’re going to meet this evening, I think. But I don't know what it’s to talk about.”

Meanwhile, Espargaro expects the 14-turn track to be fairly easy to learn.

“I remember the first time we were in Qatar, it was very tricky and difficult to learn because it was a lot of blind corners where you were not seeing the entry of the corner,” he said.

“Here is good because you see all the corners from the corner before. There are maybe one or two corners that you need to learn because it's with an uphill entry. But overall I believe that the learning process is going to be much better.

“Anyway I did quite a lot of laps already on the track and I more or less know what I'm going to find.”

Baking heat is also likely to be a factor this weekend.

“It’s not harder than for example Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand. It's pretty similar. So humidity is high. I'm drinking water during all the hours of the day, which is normal for these Asian races,” Espargaro said.

"To be honest, I didn't expect the heat,” added Nakagami. “It’s so hot! And yeah, it's going to be really tough for the long distance. But maybe I think I'm used to it better than the European riders.”

To help adapt to the new track, both Friday practice sessions will be extended, to 1 hour 10mins.