Having planned to try Sachsenring winning team-mate Marc Marquez's different spec Honda, and more importantly a brand-new chassis, Pol Espargaro instead found his own bike competitive from the start of the Assen MotoGP weekend.

Espargaro, who uses a package based around the 'normal' 2021 chassis, wanted to try a 'Marquez bike' (featuring older chassis parts) to better understand where he lost 15-seconds to his team-mate in last weekend's race.

In addition, HRC also provided a new chassis for both factory riders, which Marquez put some laps on in the Friday sessions.

However, Espargaro's immediately impressive form, which eventually put him second fastest on combined times to Yamaha's Maverick Vinales, plus some afternoon rain, meant the #44 didn't get beyond his own machine.

The Spaniard explained he needed to re-test a technical change found at the Barcelona test which, although appearing to backfire at the tight and twisty Sachsenring, seemed to suit the high-speed, high-grip Dutch track.

"We had a lot to test today: Marc’s bike, Marc’s set up, the new chassis. But I didn’t do anything!" he smiled. "I started with the bike I finished with in Germany. I rode it in FP1 and I was so good, so confident, so fast that I kept going with it.

"Trying Marc’s bike was not as important as trying the new chassis. So, I planned to try the new chassis in FP2, but with the rain I couldn’t test it. So I ended up the same as I finished in Germany."

Intriguingly, Espargaro added that there are other good reasons why he is persisting with his current bike, but couldn't reveal exactly what they are without giving away technical secrets.

"I would love to explain you why we keep using the bike we ended up with in Germany," he said. "In Germany it was not as bad as the result looks. But I started very badly and then in the race with the heat [from the exhaust] on my foot, I was not focussed.

"At the Barcelona test [before Sachsenring] we changed one thing on my bike which was very good. The standard Germany bike was then very similar to the Barcelona test bike. We came here to Holland with the Barcelona set up and straight away it was much better, together with the new asphalt.

"For sure the Barcelona change helped a bit the edge grip, which is something I was looking for and the new asphalt has better grip as well. It was important after Sachsenring to confirm that what we tried in Barcelona actually works. And today in the morning I was flying. I was enjoying also riding the bike.

"I think it was the first time I enjoyed being fast every lap with a good pace and when I was pushing, I was going very good so that was a good feeling.

"Also it was important to try another thing today that was not part of the Germany set up. I know it’s difficult to understand [all of this] without explaining technically what we changed. But there is a meaning behind why we started this weekend with bike from Germany.

"And then the plan was to also check Marc’s bike. But first the Japanese asked me to try the new chassis as there was something interesting to check for the summer break and which direction they should take for the future."

Espargaro's new chassis comparison should now take place tomorrow.

While Marquez made the headlines with a huge Friday accident, Espargaro suffered a smaller afternoon fall, at Turn 5.

"A stupid crash," Espargaro said of his tumble. "It was raining a bit during all the session. I took one lap slow and then I wanted to push. But the temp was not very good and for the medium tyre was on the limit. Then when I pushed on the left it was too cold and I lose the front so it was my mistake."