Bradley Smtih’s last race weekend as a MotoGP rookie started in fantastic fashion with the Englishman setting the fourth fastest time in opening practice. In the afternoon he slipped back to eighth but for Smith the major positive was that he was able to make progress in FP2 and build on his strong start.
While Smith admitted that the time in FP1 was aided by using a fresh tyre at the end of the session he did go on to say that this was comfortable as he felt following opening practice at any race this season.
“The great thing about today is that I felt immediately comfortable on the bike,” said Smith. “This morning’s fourth position though made the situation look a bit better than it probably was because I put in a brand new tyre right at the end of the session to set my fastest time. I suppose that this is the closest and most comfortable [first day of practice].
“We had a really good day in Philip Island when we started but the nice thing about today is that whereas in Philip Island we had a good first session and didn’t make a step forward that the other’s made int he second session we made a good step in the second session today.”
With 17 race weekends under his belt Smith felt that the progress owed a lot to him feeling more comfortable on the bike and being able to give better feedback which the team are now in a better position to understand and improve upon:
“We’re starting to understand my feedback and the feeling that I want the bike to have. The hard tyre is a big step forward from Bridgestone and a big step for us. I’ve never had a positive from the hard tyre and to be able to ride faster on the hard tyre compared to this morning was much better. The wind was really bad in the afternoon and it was tough. Turns one and two had a crosswind and then coming back around into four was really difficult.”
Smith holds the rookie points record for a British rider and is a former 125cc race winner in Valencia.