Bradley Smith has confirmed that the ankle injury that hampered him during the first Sepang pre-season test is less of an issue this week. The Briton was eighth fastest on Monday and although he still doesn’t feel 100% fit, Smith says he is much more comfortable on board the YZR-M1 than he was earlier this month.
“It’s great to be back here at Sepang again after not such a long wait so that we can carry on getting prepared for Qatar. The track conditions were different today compared to the last time when we were riding here and the circuit was a bit unpredictable with the grip levels. In some corners there was a lot less than in others but I’m happy because I didn’t really lose a lot of time compared to the other riders in these conditions. I’m closer to the front than the last test and I am also pleased because my ankle is much better than it was, although it is still not perfect. We were able to ride in the rain as well which is positive. I didn’t risk too much but I already feel much more comfortable when compared to last year in the wet and the lap time was much quicker. I think we still need to work but we are starting to see what we need to do to carry a good lap time and also to get grip in the wet with the Yamaha.”
Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro continued his impressive pre-season aboard the sister Tech 3 Yamaha, going third fastest on Monday. The Spaniard admitted that the sweltering conditions made life tough but took nothing but positives from day one in Malaysia.
“I am really happy with the progress that we have made today and to finish in third is a great start to this test. We are continuing to work in the right direction and as soon as we started this morning, I knew that we could be quick. At midday it was already 54 degrees on the ground which was clearly warmer than the first test where it reached a max of 50 and so we weren’t able to ride as many laps. However, the general feeling for today was that it was productive and we focused on trying different electronic settings. The information that we collected will be very useful and furthermore, it was very good to run some laps in the rain as well. This meant that we could work on the wet setup and I am really pleased with this especially, as there is a definite improvement. The 2015 Yamaha feels great and I know that if I can ride a bit smoother and adjust my riding style slightly, we can be strong. There are a few more things which we have to study in order to improve, but we cannot rush everything and we must take it all step by step.”