Bradley Smith feels he now has the base of a motorcycle which he can be competitive with in 2015 after finishing this week’s second Sepang test inside the top six. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was the second quickest satellite runner, trailing LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, and with such a good base set-up to work from, Smith is hopeful of reeling in his compatriot at the next test in Qatar.
“It was a good final day for me, especially to finish in the top 6. The team and I had more or less completed all of our test plans yesterday, but there were a few small things we needed to try today with the electronics and the clutch. So we tested three different ideas, with two of them being definitely an improvement. It’s these little changes that can make a different in the race. I am pleased to say that I did a 1’59 lap time, which was my objective for this test and it’s positive that I could achieve this. The bike now has a very good base setup, so next we will go to Qatar which is a completely different track and see if we can use the base setup we made here, at Losail. All in all, it was a good test. We’re close to being the top satellite bike but Cal is a bit faster, however our pace has been competitive and I am happy with the job the team and I have done here.”
Teammate Pol Espargaro finished outside the top ten after failing to get the best out of his new tyres when the track was at its quickest. The Spaniard crashed when going for a qualifying-style flying lap and was disappointed to pass up the opportunity to push his YZR-M1 to its limit.
“Today was a bit of a tricky day for me. The feeling I had when I first went out on track was good and I was sure of having a positive day. I had just put on a new tyre to go for a fast lap time, but I was disrupted by a slow rider on track. I had to pass him with a quite risky move and unfortunately I ended up crashing. This was at the worst possible time because it was when the track was perfect in terms of temperature. Because bike 1 needed repairing, I went out on the second bike, but any chance of improving didn’t come easily for me and I had to stop shortly after because the track was so hot that the conditions were difficult to ride on.”
“Once things had cooled down, we had some technical issues that slowed us again and after everything, there was only half an hour right at the end of the day where I could ride again”, Espargaro continued. “Having said that, after falling in the morning, I did not want to push too hard and end up worse, so we limited ourselves to ensuring that everything was working properly again without pushing. It’s a big shame that we weren’t able to finish our test schedule as we had planned. Anyway, next up is Qatar and we are equipped with lots of information and ideas for improvements after 5 days in Sepang, plus I am eager to roll on to another circuit, although there is still one more day of testing here, where we will test the 2016 Michelin tyres.”