Maverick Vinales began his first MotoGP weekend for Aprilia MotoGP 20th on the timesheets during Friday practice at Aragon, but within 1.2s of fastest man Jack Miller (Ducati).

The former factory Yamaha rider cut 1.5s from his morning lap time during FP2 and kept his RS-GP on two-wheels throughout, although he did suffer a scare when he clipped the inside kerb through the fast final corner.

"I felt very excited and also very nervous," admitted Vinales, whose only prior experience of the RS-GP was in a private two-day test at Misano.

"For me it has been very positive because from FP1 to FP2 we make a big jump not only with the lap time but also with the feeling and I think tomorrow we will make another," Vinales said.

"It is true that it is very different [to the Yamaha] so the way I do the track is on another way. It is hard to still continue doing it in the way the bike wants because I’m used to a different way and that’s why I could not combine all the sectors in a perfect way."

If he had been able to combine all of his best sectors in one lap, Vinales would have set a best Friday time of 1m 48.299s rather than 1m 48.755s and almost halve his gap to the top from +1.142s to +0.686s.

That is also the equivalent of 14th place and would have put Vinales within 0.42s of team-mate Aleix Espargaro, who backed up his Silverstone podium with an impressive second on the Friday timesheets behind Ducati's Jack Miller.

Vinales said he is still using Espargaro's set-up and yet to fine-tune the RS-GP for his own preferences, another reason why he is still, "far from the top performance of the bike and also myself.

"This is a learning process. The way to make the lap time is completely different. I need to understand it better.

"At the moment we are using the base from Aleix from Misano and we didn’t touch nothing. We keep working on the same: we keep riding, riding and understanding.

"For sure tomorrow if we need to put a harder spring then we will try, but at the moment I am far away from the maximum."

Vinales got some laps behind his team-mate where he was able to get a better idea of the difference in cornering lines for the V4-powered Aprilia compared to the Inline 4 engine at Yamaha.

"We didn’t make any special plan with Aleix, it was more to see the lines he does and they are completely different to the lines I was used to doing," Vinales confirmed.

"I am still braking too early, that is the main issue because I was used to a different kind of riding style but we are getting much closer. In Misano I was getting closer and here by the days and the practices we will get closer.

"For me the most difficult part is the braking because the acceleration is very good and I can control well the slide. It is not an issue but I need to get used to the braking area because it is different to what I used to ride and makes a difference to the lap-time.

"I think we will arrive. It is about doing laps and trusting the front more than anything else."

Suzuki's Alex Rins, who followed Vinales in opening practice, commented:

"I rode a little bit with Maverick in FP1 and he was struggling a little bit to make the bike turn. For sure it's a different engine compared to the Yamaha with has the Inline 4 and the Aprilia a V4. So maybe it's a little bit difficult for him, but he already rides fast.

"I mean the level in MotoGP is super high and it's not easy to change the team, change the bike and be fast again. For sure his team-mate Aleix was second today, super fast, but also he was quite impressive."

Meanwhile, Espargaro was delighted to carry his Silverstone speed straight over to Aragon.

"I am extremely satisfied with today’s results, both on the time attack front and in terms of our work with used tyres in view of the race," he said. "If I'm honest, I still don’t have that perfect feeling. I'm able to be fast, but in terms of feeling, I think there is still room for improvement.

"This morning, the grip on the asphalt was very poor and then it gradually got better, but thinking ahead to Sunday, when high temperatures are expected, we will clearly need to work well on tyre choice and setup."