Bradley Smith has paid tribute to Yamaha after going second fastest on his updated YZR-M1 on the final day of testing at Valencia. The Briton has been running with a new chassis, fuel tank and seat unit this weekend and had nothing but praise for the upgrades which he thinks will contribute to a successful 2014.
“Today was very positive and it is a great boost to go into the winter break being so far up the timesheets. I didn’t expect to be as fast as I was and to be so close to Marc is very positive. The new parts Yamaha gave me yesterday have really been a massive improvement and it has given me a lot of confidence that this package will help me be much stronger and more competitive in 2014. The bike just feels better balanced and although it was a one-off lap on a low fuel load, it gives me a great platform to take into next year. All we did today was play around with the settings on the new bike to see what happened when we made certain changes and I can’t find anything negative in the upgrades, so I am very grateful to Yamaha for supplying them to me. I have to be going this fast though because Pol is looking very strong and it is impressive to see him so fast so soon. It looks like we will be pushing each other a lot next season and that’s positive for Yamaha and Tech 3.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Pol Espargaro was sixth quickest today, just under a second shy of Smith, and was pleasantly surprised by his own performance.
“It has been an emotional and very positive first test for me and honestly things went better than I expected. Our main aim at the moment is to make me feel comfortable and understand the bike and that’s what we have done again today. I steadily improved my lap time compared to yesterday and this is what we are looking for. Today we started to change a few electronic settings to give me an idea about how the bike behaves with more or less traction control or engine braking. I’m still trying to adjust my riding style to MotoGP but I think it will still take me a lot of time, as I did not even complete 150 laps. The positive thing is that we already know many areas where we can improve in and this makes me very excited for the next season. My first experience of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team has been incredible and I am really excited to work closely with my crew next season to have a good start to my MotoGP career. I’m really looking forward to going to Sepang in February and experience this fantastic bike on another track.”