Bradley Smith is still confident of challenging for a top six result in tomorrow's Grand Prix of Aragon despite a difficult qualifying session which left him on the fifth row.
The day started positively for the young Briton who topped the timesheets early in morning practice but a crash later in the session left him on his back foot for qualifying. Smith admitted he never felt comfortable with the rear end of the Mistral 610, leaving him down in 15th place.
“Unfortunately this afternoon we did not improve our lap time by much at all and that means that we went from being strong and competitive in the top 10 this morning to only 15th. That is disappointing and I am trying to find the reasons why. I felt pretty good on the bike but I was just struggling to find rear grip. Now I have to get a good start and try to work my way forward, which will not be easy on this track, but I am ready for the challenge. I am 1.4 seconds off the lead, but only 0.7s off second place and I will look to start battling with my Championship rivals once again. We’ve always found a big step with the bike for the race, and I’m convinced my Tech 3 Racing Team can do the same again tomorrow and we can be racing in the top six like we were in Indy and Misano.”
Tech 3 teammate Mike Di Meglio will start one row further back in 18th and was immensely frustrated after feeling happy with the performance of his bike in morning practice.
“I am very angry with my final position on the grid. I was happy with my pace this morning and I was sure I could improve this afternoon. Unfortunately I started to have trouble with the rear tyre again. I had a big chatter problem. The bike was very good for the corner exit, but the entry was not good and I was losing a lot of time. The whole bike was jumping going into the corner and I was close to the limit and very close to crashing. I hope tomorrow we can find an improvement for the race because once again today it was quite frustrating.”