Bradley Smith heads into this weekend’s MotoGP season opener in Qatar intent on reproducing his impressive performances from last year. The Briton finished in the top ten at every Grand Prix on his way to sixth in the championship, finishing as the top satellite rider overall, and has that particular accolade in his sights again.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider hasn’t chased headline lap times in pre-season testing but remains confident that he will be competing towards the front at Losail.
“The winter months have passed, so now it’s finally time to switch on to race mode and get ready for the first GP of 2016, which I am very excited about. We’ve had a really constructive off-season, which kicked off in Malaysia and despite the tricky weather there, as well as later again at Phillip Island, I feel we completed a lot of valuable work. This is just what we needed before the start of what will be a very competitive year. I intend to continue from where I left off last season, but I am under no illusions that it will be any less competitive than last year. Still, we have taken every necessary step to be prepared and I’m feeling optimistic about my chances. This GP is always unusual due to it being at night and also over four days, but I am confident of starting strongly in FP1 and then go from there. It will great to be back racing again and I can’t wait to get going.”
Teammate Pol Espargaro impressed many with the lap times he set during a race simulation at the Losail pre-season test and the Spaniard is confident his team have got to grips with the changes for 2016.
“Finally, the winter is over and we can get back to doing what we love to do best – MotoGP! I am more determined than ever about this year and it will be a very important season for me as a rider. I’m happy to be part of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team once again and I intend to make everyone proud in 2016 after the difficulties that we had to face last year. The winter tests were a bit different this time because we had to adjust to our updated Yamaha YZR- M1 but also get used to the Michelin tyres and the new electronics. However, I am feeling confident about all of these aspects after the thorough job the team and I did in February and earlier this month. Although the bike is not quite 100%, we are close and I am particularly confident of our race setup this year so I’m sure I can fight to some strong results. I will give my all at the first GP to start the season with a positive finish. The time has come and I’m ready for the contest.”