2015 - Argentina - Rio Hondo

Smith and Espargaro conquer Argentine GP with strong finishes

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith continued his strong form in the 2015 season by expertly speeding to 6th position at round 3 of the MotoGP World Championship in Argentina. The young British rider kicked off his race from 10th position on the grid with the sun beaming down on the track and leapt forward as the lights went out to hold his qualifying position at the close of the first lap. He then ran a series of competitive laps as he sought to glide through the field and storm to a top result. With 15 laps until the end, Smith dived inside Aleix Espargaro to snatch 7th and his determination remained strong as he opened a gap on the pursuing rider. The young Briton carefully maintained his tyres before smoothly continuing his strong pace, greeting the finish flag in 6th position. His solid performance in Argentina confirmed his second consecutive sixth place finish this season and fills him with confidence for the forthcoming European rounds.

Additionally, Pol Espargaro completed a superb run to 8th position in Argentina after producing a driven and determined ride in the challenging race. Starting from 18th on the grid after a tricky qualifying session, the young Spaniard leapt into action and finished the first lap in 13th having expertly passed five riders. The 2014 rookie of the year carried on his fine work as he set into a solid rhythm and overtook Vinales on lap five and then Scott Redding just one lap later. He pushed onwards and clinched 9th position shortly afterwards as he continued his consistent lap times to gap the pursuing riders. He eventually soared across the finish line in 8th, having overtaken ten riders in the 25 lap battle today. His performance marks a positive end to a challenging weekend and now the 23 year old Spaniard looks onwards to the next round at Jerez optimistic of scoring a top finish.

   
Bradley Smith
 Position : 6th Championship : 7th  Points : 28

Bradley Smith - 2015"Today I'm really happy about taking home this 6th position as this is actually better than we expected during some points of the weekend. Before the race, I was still undecided about which compound of rear tyre to use as the tyre life is vital at this track due to the grip issues we have had all week. We made a few changes inbetween the warm up and the race including the decision to go for the hard compound. It was a shame that the first corner didn’t go to plan, like it did last week and I wasn’t able to go around the outside and make up some places. A few guys got in underneath me who were riding on the racing line, whilst I was on the dirty section of the track. Afterwards, when you lose three or four seconds because of a tricky start like this, it’s impossible to get back with the leading bikes as the lap times are so similar. However, I will gladly take this result as it confirms my third consistent race finish in the top eight, which is a far better start to the season compared to last year. So now I am looking forward to Jerez with confidence as I can't wait to return to race in Europe in two weeks time."

Profil

 

Pol Espargaro
Position : 8th Championship : 9th  Points : 15

Pol Espargaro - 2015"I can't be disappointed with the result considering where we started. The first few laps were quite positive as I was able to put myself right behind the two Pramac bikes as well as Vinales. However after this, Hernandez’ bike caught fire right in front of me and I lost a lot of time compared to Brad and my brother. Before he retired, there was oil on the track as well as on my vision so I needed to be careful even though I was sure he would stop sooner or later. By the time he pulled over, the gap to my brother who was in front of me, was already a bit too big. I tried to recover some time on him and Bradley, but it didn’t go according to plan. Halfway through the race, I had closed in a bit but then as soon as I realised that I wasn’t able to catch them, I decided to stay in my rhythm rather than risk crashing. To go from 18th to 8th is not a bad result as we managed to limit the damage and take home some valuable points. It was clearly not our best race, but I’m really looking forward to going back to Europe and competing at the race tracks where I know I am strong."

Profil

 

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"It was such an exciting race and I am so happy to see Yamaha win it with an incredible Valentino on board! Last night there were some long faces in the Yamaha camp and they were a bit sceptical about what they could accomplish in the race. Yet, everyone at Yamaha worked really hard and focused more on the race pace rather than the qualifying. The choice of the extra hard tyre was definitely the best decision for all the Yamahas as we could clearly see how much Valentino recovered at the end of the race. Our boys did a really good job and we are very pleased with what they achieved here today. Bradley had another really strong showing and after undertaking a good start he then set about making up all of the places that he could. He was lapping very similar times to Jorge all race and ended up in 6th, which is another great result so I am very satisfied. On the other hand, what a performance from Pol! He was 18th on the grid but finished 8th at the flag and it was an incredible recovery. Both of our riders scored strong points here in the race, which is always important for the Championship and now we will head back to Europe knowing that it was mission accomplished." 

Smith to challenge Argentinian GP from 10th on the grid

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will launch from the head of the fourth row of the grid for the Argentina Grand Prix at the fast flowing Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo. After finishing this morning's free practice 3 in 13th, which saw the British rider qualify for QP1, the 23 year old concentrated on assessing different setup options in FP4 as he completed the session in 12th position. With the sun shining down on the circuit for the crucial qualifying sessions, Smith shot to the top of the heap with an impressive lap of 1’38.956 during QP1. This time permitted the Briton to progress through to the final 15 minute shootout. Smith powered onwards as he sought a top grid position and set his personal best on the 6th lap with a 1’39.197 which confirmed his starting position of 10th tomorrow. The young British star remains confident for tomorrow's race where he will intend to once again challenge for the position of the leading satellite bike in the premier class.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro endured a tricky qualifying campaign to post a lap time of 1’39.808, leaving him in 18th position on the grid for tomorrow’s 25 lap dash. The young Spaniard began the day by finishing the FP3 session in 11th place but just 0.014 of a second behind the final Q2 position which meant he had to partake in qualifying 1. Here, the 2014 rookie of the year executed a fully determined effort on the challenging circuit, yet still wasn't able to lower his lap time enough to participate in qualifying session 2. Now, the 23 year old Spaniard looks ahead to tomorrow where he will aim to undertake a strong start and then climb through the field to a top ten position.

   
Bradley Smith
 Position : 10th Times : 1'39.197  Laps : 8

Bradley Smith - 2015 "Obviously, it was not ideal to go through QP1 again today, but I managed to post a really good lap time that allowed me to get into qualifying 2. Unfortunately, there was only one compound of my favoured front tyre left which I decided to keep for the race tomorrow and so I had to run with a used one in qualifying 2. As a result, I couldn't push as hard as before but nevertheless, we did an ok job considering that the tyre had already covered a full race distance in the end. Perhaps we could have been a position or two higher, but 10th is acceptable and especially as it has been quite a tricky weekend so far. Now, we will focus even more on the race pace as this is vital in terms of success tomorrow. Having a competitive bike for 25 laps is highly significant as there is a big tyre drop here and therefore, there is potentially a lot of time to gain. So this is what we will focus on tomorrow in the warm up. The team did a great job and I must say thanks to them as they turned my bike around and adjusted it to make me feel more comfortable on this track. We need to continue working a little bit more, but we are starting to find the right direction to head towards. This may be a bit late in the race weekend, but Sunday is where everything matters."

Profi 10

Pol Espargaro
Position : 18th Times : 1'39.808  Laps : 8

Pol Espargaro - 2015 "It goes without saying that I am far from satisfied with how things went today. We concentrated a lot on our race rhythm and tried both compounds of tyre in the initial two free practice sessions plus we completed many laps with the extra hard one and I’m convinced that my pace is pretty good. It was a pity that we couldn’t go straight through to QP2 and that we missed it by just 0.014 of a second. Also, we were close to the factory bikes who were just three tenths away. Nevertheless, I was still confident as we have known since the beginning of the season that this type of situation could happen during the year as the level is really similar and the manufacturers who are allowed to use the softer tyres have improved their bikes a lot. However, unfortunately the session was a disaster. We need to analyse what exactly happened as when I went out for my second run, which was the one where I planned to do a time attack, I realised that it was impossible to ride fast with the bike like this. To be honest, I do not know what was wrong, but I couldn’t even come close to setting my fastest time of the weekend. To kick off the race from 18th is not good news at all and I will need a lot of patience plus a well thought out plan to make up the positions. It will be difficult for sure but until we started this session, my feelings here were positive. Now I need to be confident that we can turn the weekend around tomorrow."

Profil

 

Positive first steps for Espargaro on Argentine asphalt

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro completed a bright start in cloudy Argentina to finish the opening day in 7th position aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1. Despite a cautious start to the day in FP1 due to the dirty track surface, the young Spaniard leapt into action in the afternoon and put in a thorough effort as he began establishing a strong setup for the 25 lap battle on Sunday. Although the weather was gloomy and the rain clouds threatened, only a few small drops fell which was not enough to disrupt the session and so Espargaro plugged away. He concluded the practice with a best lap of 1’39.648, which left him in 7th but only three tenths of a second back from 2nd place. His opening performance today at the fast flowing Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo leaves him poised for a successful show in qualifying tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Bradley Smith began his Argentina MotoGP weekend with a finish in 12th place in this afternoon’s FP2 practice as he looks to continue his positive run so far in 2015. The 23 year old wisely saved his efforts for the afternoon session where the track conditions improved considerably and here, he posted a series of consistent laps with the best being a 1’40.195. This time was set on the 16th lap out of 22, as he tirelessly covered more distance than any other rider in the second free practice whilst refining the set up of his Yamaha YZR-M1. The British star now seeks to improve his time further in FP3 tomorrow ahead of the vital qualifying session.

   
Pol Espargaro
Position : 7th Times : 1'39.648  Laps : 19

Pol Espargaro - 2015 "Overall, it was a positive start to the Argentina round and I am pleased with what we managed to achieve today. We produced a good lap in the afternoon and the rhythm was solid with both hard and soft compounds of tyre. We were also quite close to the front during the whole FP2 session, which is certainly a positive. Tomorrow we have to concentrate on testing the tyres further as at the moment we are not sure which one will be the most effective in the race as the conditions are changing quite rapidly. The track is as dirty as last year which is a big pity as it has such a nice layout but we could not take advantage and enjoy riding it today due to the dirt. However, altogether it was a positive start to round 3 and additionally, my physical conditions are fortunately ok. Having said that, I do experience a slight bit of pain in the hard braking zones and also when I have to change direction quickly. However, I can handle this without painkillers, so I’m already looking forward to day 2 in Argentina."

Profil

 

Bradley Smith
 Position : 12th Times : 1'40.195  Laps : 22

Bradley Smith - 2015 "It was a tricky opening day as the track conditions were quite difficult, especially this morning. We lost a bit of time in FP1 as I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike, which could have been because of the tyre, the bike setting or the conditions. In the end, we concluded that it was a mix of these three factors. Therefore, this afternoon we needed to assess some different settings for both of my bikes as well as evaluate the new extra hard tyre from Bridgestone to see how we could improve. I felt much better straight away, but especially when we put in a new soft rear tyre that enabled us to make a big step forward. However, I'm convinced that I didn’t extract the maximum potential at the time so there is still plenty of space for improvement. Moreover, we are struggling with rear grip just like everyone else, but we have a good direction which we need to head towards to solve this. It is vital that we continue to adapt as the conditions change in order to progress, however, I am sure that when the track improves with grip, our setting will work much more effectively. At the moment to be outside the top ten is a bit risky, yet we still have tomorrow morning left to run, so we will see what happens but I remain confident."

Profil

Tech3 duo head to Argentina prepared for Rio Hondo battle

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro head down south to the Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina for round three of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship, fresh from challenging at the Americas Grand Prix in Texas. They will compete on the 4.8 kilometre Rio Hondo circuit which is a fast flowing and meandering track that is entering its second year on the MotoGP calendar.

Britain’s Bradley Smith will be looking to continue his positive start to the year and intends to notch a third consistent strong result in the 2015 MotoGP season this weekend in Argentina. After battling to finish as the leading satellite rider, the 23 year old will once again take to the asphalt as he aims to consolidate his 6th position in the World Championship standings. Meanwhile Pol Espargaro who suffered bad luck in Texas after failing to finish the race, will look to bounce back and fight with his teammate to be the fastest satellite MotoGP rider. The 2014 MotoGP rookie of the year finished in 8th position last season, but is confident of beating this result and speeding to a top finish in South America.

 Bradley Smith

Championship : 6th - Points : 18

Bradley Smith - 2015"I’m looking forward to the race in Argentina after the good result we had in Texas and I’m happy the wait is not so long! The track wont have changed a lot from last year in terms of grip and the racing line will be quite narrow. For sure, it will be vital to get a strong qualifying position there and I intend to be far quicker than last year as I was not happy with the result or having to go through Q1. We are improving the setting every time we run the Yamaha but the main thing we need to focus on is looking after the front tyre. So we will keep studying the Yamaha data to see where I can improve. My ambition remains the same, which is to be close to the factory riders and after all of the positives we have had so far, I am going to Argentina confident and optimistic about getting another strong result."

Profil

Pol Espargaro

Championship : 12th - Points : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015"Unfortunately after all the hard work in Texas, our race day was ruined due to an incident, but anyway we must forget about this as well as the entire weekend as we now focus on Argentina. I am looking forward to visiting the Rio Hondo track again which is very fast and more of a Yamaha type of track. The local fans are really enthusiastic and are very happy to see MotoGP in their country, so therefore I will do my best to put on a good show for them and to make amends for the bad weekend in Texas. I know I have the pace to be up running with my teammate and battling for the leading satellite position. We’ve had a bit of bad luck so far this year, but at round 3 I know the team and I can pull together and get a strong result before we head to Europe."

Profil

 

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"Now that we’ve just finished the Americas Grand Prix, it’s time to jet off straight to Argentina for the third round of the championship. Texas was a bittersweet weekend for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team. On one hand Brad did a fantastic job to finish in 6th, as the leading satellite bike and only ten seconds back from the leader. This was after a difficult qualifying and he began the race with an incredible start. Pol on the other hand was very unfortunate to have not been able to finish the race after looking so promising during the weekend. Both riders will take what they can from Texas and we expect both of them to be strong in Argentina and fighting exactly where they were this weekend. They both have the pace to be right behind the leading factory riders and a top six for either of them at Rio Hondo is not out of the question. The track is more suited to the Yamaha bikes due to the fast corners but it will be interesting to see how the track is in terms of grip as it is not used as often as other tracks. Nevertheless, we head to Argentina optimistic and confident of two strong results. They’re both doing a great job and of course, there’s a bit to work on but I’m sure they will put on a great show for the local enthusiasts." 

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