Bradley Smith was delighted to have finally kicked off his MotoGP career as the rain finally relented at Valencia on Wednesday. After 43 laps, the British youngster set the eleventh fastest time and the Yamaha YZR-M1 had immediately made an impression on him. Smith was also grateful for the help of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Cal Crutchlow who ran with him on the circuit (above) before offering his advice.
“Today was a fantastic moment in my career and it is great to finally get chance to test the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 bike. Today more than made up for yesterday’s disappointment when I couldn’t ride because of the weather and it actually worked out great for me because I rode in the wet and dry, and this is brilliant to help me build up my experience. Obviously the bike is completely different to anything I have ridden before, but it is an unbelievable machine. The power is incredible and in the dry when I came on the straight for the first time, I just had a huge smile. The level of technology is really impressive but I was able to consistently improve my time with every run and I am leaving very satisfied with my performance and confident in my potential for the future. Cal followed me for a couple of laps and gave me some tips and I really appreciate that. Cal had a fantastic season and I know I can learn a lot from him. I can go into the winter break now knowing what I need to work on in the future and I am glad we have plenty of testing ahead of us because there is so much to learn.”
Crutchlow was second fastest behind Dani Pedrosa at the end of the day despite suffering pain from his crash during Sunday’s race and is now looking forward to the new season, beginning with testing at Sepang in February.
“It was good to finally get out on track after a frustrating first day. I thought today was going to be the same but the track finally dried and I could go out. I only did 28-laps but I was able to gather some information for Yamaha on a couple of set-up options and it was nice just to get back out and do some good laps. I didn’t want my last memory of 2012 to be crashing out of second in the race on Sunday, so now I can go into the winter in a positive frame of mind. I’m happy too because I could check my left hand that I injured in the race. I have a small fracture on an old injury but it didn’t feel too bad. Now I am looking forward to a good winter break, training hard and being ready to see what Yamaha brings out for 2013 in Sepang next February.”
Team Manager Herve Poncharal was pleased to see Crutchlow bounce back from the disappointment of Sunday and was also encouraged with Smith’s early performance.
“It is a shame that the weather played such a big part here because everybody had a lot of anticipation and excitement ahead of the first test for 2013. We certainly did because we have been keen to let Bradley begin learning about the YZR-M1. He did a few laps in the wet in the early part of the day and that would have given him some confidence because he has so much to learn about the tyres, power and electronics. It couldn’t have been easy making his MotoGP debut on a wet track but he looked immediately at home on the bike. I’m pleased that he could get some time on slick tyres and carbon brakes, so at least he knows what to expect when we resume testing in Sepang next February. He has a big challenge ahead of him but today was a very promising start. We were doubtful the track would be dry enough for Cal to go out on slicks but the rain stayed away and it was good for him to do a few laps and get his confidence back after the crash on Sunday. It has been a long but incredibly successful season for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and now we are looking forward to a thoroughly deserved winter break before we return refreshed and raring to go at the next test in Sepang in February.”