Just one week ago, Maverick Vinales 'felt like a rookie' at the start of his first MotoGP race weekend for Aprilia, in Aragon.

Today, he finished top of the Friday practice timesheets at Misano, albeit helped by a heavy downpour in the closing stages of FP1.

"I felt much more strong. But I think in Alcañiz, it was a little bit of everything: first race, first mileage on a race weekend, on a track that is really difficult. And now we understand more the bike," Vinales said.

"I pushed straight away, and straight away we went faster than in the [Misano] test. So it means we are building up and we made a step forwards. This is the positive point of today."

Vinales explained that the leap in performance was mainly down to prior RS-GP track knowledge, gained during a two-day test at the same Italian circuit in late August.

"When I was in Alcañiz, the first laps I was feeling like a rookie that never rode a MotoGP bike! Because it's too different, I need to use very different lines [on the Aprilia]," added the former Suzuki and Yamaha rider.

"In Misano, it seems that this is much easier, because I already understand how to go with this bike in this track. I can anticipate a few moves, I can correct a few things. This is all about feeling, confidence, understanding the bike and the track.

"But still there is a lot of room to improve. This is very positive, because I felt okay, today was a good day, I didn't feel on the limit. And still I keep learning. So it's very positive."

With the afternoon FP2 session wet throughout, Vinales' morning time (0.3s from the official race lap record) proved to be the best of the day, but he insisted:

"Like in Alcañiz, we are not thinking at all about the position and the performance. We know we have to be focused on the feelings, especially on this learning process that we are doing.

"It's good to be in the front, this is clear, it makes you feel much more calm, much more comfortable, because you feel you have the speed. But we need to keep a lot of calmness, trying to build up a solid step and this is what we are trying to do."

Indeed, Vinales claimed one of the most important aspects of the day had been his feeling in the wet FP2, when he was ranked 17th overall (+2.1s)

"The most important thing today is that I tried the bike in the wet. It feels like we have a really good potential. It was really nice because I had good feedback from the bike in the wet, and this means a lot, it means so much."

Team-mate Aleix Espargaro, who has taken Aprilia's best ever results with the RS-GP in the last two rounds, was tenth and eighth in the two sessions.

"About Maverick, I’m not surprised," Espargaro said. "Obviously it’s spectacular that he finished in P1, it's always good and I’m happy for Aprilia because it’s our home GP. But he tested here two weeks ago so it’s normal.

"Actually, last year I was P13 on the grid, but because I had been testing here before, I finished third in FP1. So normally you start with an advantage when you have tested recently.

"Also, [Honda test rider] Stefan Bradl finished top ten today, so us other riders need more time to arrive at a certain level."

With wet weather a threat for the remainder of the weekend, including Saturday morning's FP3, Vinales and Espargaro may have already secured direct access to Saturday's Qualifying 2.