Bradley Smith says he is continuing to struggle physically as Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s testing programme continued in Malaysia. The Briton has revealed that he sustained an ankle injury while training during the winter and despite completing 51 laps on day two to finish ninth, Smith stressed that he was far from comfortable on board his YZR-M1.
“Overall, I am pleased with the progress we have made on day two in Malaysia and I am happy to be back in the groove whilst working on some areas that I can evaluate here in Sepang. I’m at about 85% fitness due to my injured right ankle which I hurt in training, however I still managed to complete 103 laps over today and yesterday. I can’t move around on the bike as much as I would like to due to the injury and right hand corners are a bit tricky, but I will heal and these are only small details and issues, which can be ironed out later. I’m evaluating the two different chassis at the moment and today I rode both and completed a similar distance. My lap times were close on either chassis, which is a very good sign, so I am certainly happy about what we achieved. Yet, now we need to continue working in order to decide which one has more potential for the upcoming season. There’s still some work to do, but we are moving forward.”
Teammate Pol Espargaro was seventh fastest after failing to improve on his day one time. The Spaniard crashed for the second day in succession but walked away uninjured and unperturbed by the incident. With one more day to go, Espargaro is now focusing on establishing the best direction to follow with the YZR-M1, something he hopes to achieve on Friday.
“Today was a bit more challenging than yesterday as we were testing chassis plus new parts and there is no clear result on which one I prefer yet, but we are making good progress so I am happy. I tried to improve my lap this afternoon, but I wasn’t able to, as it’s not the best time to attempt a hot lap due to the track conditions. Anyway, I am not focused on making super-fast times for the moment because I would rather concentrate on the bike setup and my riding style, which are progressing positively. I had a small crash this afternoon which was fortunately not damaging to me at all, nor to the bike too much, so I am happy to walk away from that unscathed. Nevertheless, tomorrow is another day and we have a lot more work to undertake which we need to do in the morning due to the temperature in the afternoon, but I look forward to getting back out on track after a good rest tonight.”