Smith Pleased To Be Closer To Leaders In Qualifying

Bradley Smith was encouraged to have qualified in the top ten and within 0.6s of pole position at Misano, a marked improvement on recent qualifying performances. The Tech 3 Mistral 610 hasn’t flown on new tyres in 2012 with Smith only making the top ten in qualifying four times before today, but the Briton feels the bike’s set-up will pay him back in the race.

“It’s been a better weekend so far and I am happy with the position but also the gap to the leading group has come down and that is a big positive. We have improved the bike each time I have gone out on track but like a few times this season, when we need to find a bit more pace in qualifying we are unable to do it. It seems when the rest of the field put on a new tyre they can go quite a bit faster and they have the capability to improve more than us. I’m not worried though and it should be a good race. Everyone is going to be starting the race guessing on the set-up a little bit because the weather has restricted the time we’ve had on a dry track. Nobody is sure how the tyre life will be over the race distance but everybody is in the same boat.”

Xavier Simeon will start four places behind his teammate and the Belgian rider also expects to be stronger over the race distance.

“I’m very happy because normally qualifying is not my strongest point and we made some improvements and it has been a positive weekend so far. Yesterday I was fastest in the wet and this was a nice boost and today I qualified 14th, so this gives me a much better chance of battling for the top 10. My pace is fast and the lap times are very close so it could be a big fight tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it. I’d like to improve the edge grip a little bit on the rear tyre, but with nobody having had the opportunity to assess tyre life because of the weather, nobody has an advantage.”