Bradley Smith is confident of climbing into the top ten on Friday when more rubber goes down on the Losail race track. The Briton was thirteenth in first practice this evening, 1.1s off the ultimate pace, and Smith expects the track conditions to come to the Tech 3 Yamaha tomorrow as he looks to secure an automatic spot in Q2.
“It’s good to get the first practice underway and be back riding again. The difference you feel when you are actually racing for real where it means something is amazing and you don’t get that sensation when testing. I think the track conditions today were a bit tricky and not ideal for the setting which we have in place at the moment. However, I know we will improve tomorrow when the grip level increases. My lap times were good and I actually rode a better time on the ideal laps, where I was more than three tenths faster than my final result which would have placed me well inside the top ten. We still need to work more with the rear of the Yamaha to make it easier for me to ride, as the bike is a bit nervous at the moment. In any case, it’s nice to ride and just get a general feeling of the track as it’s a quite tricky one and I’m already looking forward to the next two sessions tomorrow.”
Teammate Pol Espargaro also sits outside the top ten after the opening session but wasn’t surprised to see himself tumble down the leaderboard having opted against a new tyre late on.
“Today was not a bad start to the 2015 season as we were fast straight away. However, we used the same tyre for the whole session and I wasn’t able to improve as the practice came to an end. In addition, I made a small mistake at the beginning of the session where I went wide on the track. Beside that, it’s logical that after the rain this week the track conditions would not have been ideal and it certainly gave an advantage to the riders who used a softer tyre towards the end of the session, so we lost several positions. Yet, I’m confident already that tomorrow there will be more grip on the track so the situation will change and we will be further up the grid.”