Pol Espargaro narrowly missed out on the top ten during today’s FP2 session heading into qualifying day for the Portuguese MotoGP Grand Prix. 

With Marc Marquez and his return to MotoGP for the first time in nine months today being the obvious headline, team-mate Espargaro somewhat went under the radar during free practice. 

It was the Spanish rider’s first time on the Repsol Honda at a circuit other than Qatar. 

And during the damp, but changing conditions that were FP1, Espargaro was one of the fastest riders as he finished just behind Marquez in fourth. 

However, Espargaro pointed out that not too much could be taken from that session, saying: "Today was just the day to recognise the bike on this track. In the morning we couldn’t (take advantage) because the track was not good enough, but still not too bad."

In the afternoon, the former Moto2 world champion narrowly missed out on a top ten spot as he ultimately finished 12th quickest.  

So far in 2021, the main issue for Espargaro has been putting together the one lap time attack, along with feeling comfortable when fitting the softer compound tyre. 

But while he missed out on the top ten, the 29 year-old is positive about tomorrow and showing the bike’s ‘potential in one lap’. 

Espargaro said: "Honestly speaking I’m far as I couldn't match together a perfect lap, but I’m not super worried about today. 

"Everything was quite smooth and tomorrow is a day where we need to show our potential in one lap and I’m gonna do it."

With Marquez joining Espargaro for the first time on track as team-mates, it will be a new experience for the former KTM rider as he gets to assess the eight-time world champion’s data. 

Following day-one in Portimao, Espargaro was asked whether he has spoken to Marquez yet and added: "Not so much. The day was busy so I couldn’t talk too much with him. 

"But yeah it is good to have him back and also today has been good. I will have some data to check and there are a couple of places where I am slower, so we need to improve it for tomorrow, for sure!"