Pol Espargaro believes he can challenge for another MotoGP podium after securing a fourth top six qualifying result since Silverstone.

Espargaro, who has looked fast and consistent all weekend, was on course to finish as the second fastest Honda behind Alex Marquez, however, a late effort saw the Repsol Honda rider jump from ninth to fifth. 

While qualifying has been Espargaro’s main strength of late, the former KTM rider has also made significant steps in race trim, which he believes will continue if the correct tyre choice is made for today’s race.

Speaking after qualifying, Espargaro said: "Today showed the progress we have made this year with the bike, with me and with the team. 

"I made a mistake at T1 during my fastest lap so maybe I could have found another tenth but otherwise I was feeling good on the bike – even after our crash in FP4. 

"The front two rows are our target every weekend, when you’re here you can be there in the group in the race with a good start. 

"I’m happy we’ve made this step, but we can be there. Still, we need to look a bit at what tyre to use in the race because there’s a lot of possible options here."

For Espargaro’s team-mate Stefan Bradl, the German rider was unable to find enough improvements to challenge Q1’s quickest riders.

Instead, Bradl will start from 20th - just ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and fellow Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami.

"Qualifying was OK, of course I would have liked to be further ahead but in the end I am still missing something over one lap," added Bradl. 

"This is probably the area where I see the biggest difference between myself and the other riders, pushing to get the most out of the tyre over one lap. 

"In the end I think we have done and are doing a good job, the distance to the front is not very big because the times are so tight. 

"Let’s see what happens in the race, the plan is to stay in the group and see what happens."