Bradley Smith feels he has the motorcycle underneath him to challenge for his first podium finish of the season at Silverstone tomorrow. The Briton has been in tremendous form all weekend and qualified fourth this afternoon, comfortably his best grid position in 2012.
The Tech 3 rider didn't seem to suffer as much as other riders in the blustery conditions and is confident that his set-up will ensure he remains competitive from start to finish in Sunday's race.
“Today continued our excellent weekend and right from the start of practice yesterday we have done a fantastic job and been right in contention for the top three in every session. That has been a great boost for all of us at Tech 3 Racing after a difficult start to the season and I can’t wait for the race now. We’ve found a really good setting with the bike that gave me a lot confidence and even in really tricky conditions today I was fast and competitive. The wind made it really tough to control the bike but that lap of 2.08.8 was just about perfect and I thought it was good enough to be on the front row. It is a shame that I just missed out, but having not started from inside the top 10 all season, I’m not complaining. We need to see what happens with the weather but the bike feels really good on worn tyres, so I believe if I am in the hunt for the final laps then we have a great chance of being on the podium. That would be amazing for the British fans and for the crew at Tech 3 Racing who have been working incredibly hard to put me in this position.”
Teammate Xavier Simeon qualified 24th on his return to racing after injuring himself at Le Mans. The Belgian admits he is having to battle through serious pain but is still hopeful of scoring points tomorrow.
“It hasn’t been an easy return because my injuries are still giving me some pain but in every session I am gaining strength and feeling more comfortable. The disappointing aspect is that I am not as close to the top 15 as I hoped to be. I am making improvements and getting faster each time I am on track but I am still not as quick as I need to be. The target will be the top 15 again but it is painful to change gear and also braking is difficult without maximum power in my arm. I have to thank the staff at the Clinica Mobile because they have done a great job but I know it will be a long and difficult race. This is a physical track with lots of fast changes of direction and the win d has also put extra stress on my body. If I can battle my way into the points I will be very satisfied and be physically stronger in Assen.”