2015 - Australia - Philip-Island

Espargaro wraps up the Australian GP in 8th

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro produced a consistent performance down under to complete the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in 8th position aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Spaniard kicked off his campaign at the 4.4 kilometre Phillip Island Circuit from the rear of the third row and when the lights flicked off, he jumped forward before completing the opening lap in 11th. Espargaro then quickly set into his strong race pace and began muscling his way through the field. By the 5th lap, he was back up to 9th position and exchanged places with Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Ducati several times. He powered past on the 8th lap and then opened up a gap quickly, with Aleix Espargaro next up in his sights. After inching closer lap by lap, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion dived past on the fifteenth lap and then comfortably pulled away. He carried on pushing before eventually crossing the finish line in 8th, closing what has been a challenging weekend for the 24 year old. Next up is the final flyaway race at Sepang, where he will seek to battle his way into the leading satellite position and fight as close as possible to the factory MotoGP bikes.

On the other hand, Bradley Smith pushed throughout the 27 lap sprint and eventually concluded the 16th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship in 10th position. The young British rider launched into action from the fourth row of the grid and finished the opening lap in 12th as he set into his rhythm whilst he intended to move through the pack. After running at a consistent pace, the 24 year old moved up one position on the fourth lap and then continued to build up his speed before overtaking Andrea Dovizioso on the 10th. He slipped behind the Ducati rider one lap later, but he forced his way through shortly after and then stretched ahead. Next in line for Smith was Aleix Espargaro in 9th and the Briton pushed onwards as the distance to the end of the race decreased. Yet in the end, Smith ran out of time and finished in 10th, just over half of a second behind the Suzuki factory rider. Nevertheless, this result sees Smith continue his 100% record of completing every MotoGP race of 2015 inside the top ten as well as increasing his advantage over Dovizioso in the World Championship standings with only two races left to run. The 24 year old will now seek to guide his Yamaha into a top six position at the next race at the world famous Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 8th

Championship : 10th Points : 96

Pol Espargaro - 2015“Today's race was a solid finish to the weekend and we have to be satisfied when bearing in mind how we started on Friday. In addition, the gap to the riders in front is not as big as it has been at other races this year, so all in all we have to be pleased. Having said that, I also have a bittersweet taste in my mouth when thinking about the confidence and pace that I had in today's warm up, but for some reason the grip level during the race always seems to be lower than in the morning. This lack of grip generates a few issues for us which we have experienced in the last couple of races as well as today. Therefore, we need to find a solution to this matter and be more prepared for the race at Sepang, even if this round has been a positive one."

Profil 

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 10th Championship : 6th Points : 158

Bradley Smith - 2015

“To be honest, today was a tough race for me and it’s positive to walk away with a top ten finish. This weekend we struggled to find the right setting in order to give me the confidence that I needed to be fast around this technical track. In the end, we did the best that we could with a solid setup for the race and ultimately, I was pleased with the consistency of my lap times. They were better than the times I had been setting across all three days so the team did a good job with giving me the best bike that they could. Having said that, unfortunately this was only good enough for 10th, but nevertheless, I was fighting with my teammate and I finished in front of my championship rival Andrea Dovizioso, plus I gained three points on him. We must learn from this tricky weekend because every day we couldn’t quite find the right direction, especially with regards to the extra hard tyre that Bridgestone brought here. Therefore, we need to take note of what we did and then try to improve these factors in the future. However, next up is Sepang and we won’t have that tyre there so I will arrive in Malaysia a lot more confident about getting back inside the top six which is where I feel I need to be. We had two great tests there in the winter, so I’m happy that we’ll have a solid base setting to start with. It will be another gruelling race under the heat so now it’s time to recover as much as possible in the next few days so that we can be ready for a good performance in Sepang.”

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

“Before I talk about the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, I would like to say that this race was incredible and I am sure that the people behind their television screens and all of the spectators around the track enjoyed this superb Grand Prix. We truly have a brilliant show in MotoGP at the moment! Regarding our guys, there’s not a huge amount to say, but we have to be pleased with their performances. Both Pol and Brad rode strong rhythms and had steady yet solid races. I am glad that Pol managed to recover a few positions and pass his brother, plus this was the third time that he finished ahead of his teammate. So I believe, he has to be positive about this because we all know that he has been through some difficult moments recently. Anyway, it’s great to see him back on track and I really hope that we will see him continue this trend in the last few GP’s. As for Bradley, qualifying was tricky but he recovered well in the race and had a good pace. It was not easy for him to get rid of Dovizioso but he did and finished inside the top ten. In addition, he also took a few more points out of Andrea in the championship, which is positive and he gave it absolutely everything. I want thank him for trying really hard all weekend especially after that nasty crash in FP4. Now, we can relax for a bit in order to be prepared for the challenge at Sepang, the final of the three fly away races.”

 

 

Espargaro to commence the Australian Grand Prix fight from the third row

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro produced a tireless display of perseverance today in Australia and will begin the 16th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship from the third row of the starting grid. When the second day of action kicked off, the determined Spaniard got straight to work at the breathtaking 4.4 kilometre Phillip Island circuit as he pushed relentlessly in this morning’s FP3 session. Nevertheless, his determination wasn’t rewarded as Espargaro found himself in 16th position when the chequered flag fell, which meant that he needed to participate in Qualifying 1. However, after a solid run to 5th in Free Practice 4, the 24 year confidently got into gear when the first 15 minute session began. He set a best lap of 1’29.647 and then returned to the pit box in order to save a tyre for Qualifying 2. Once it started, Espargaro launched into his qualifying campaign aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 and sped to a time of 1’29.222. The young Spaniard then attempted to lower his time further on his second run, yet it was this lap that was his personal best and his performance will see him start from 9th place on the grid. Tomorrow, Espargaro will intend to bolt forwards and join the hunt for the top satellite position in what will be a tightly contested race.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith gave his all in the Qualifying 2 session today and will begin the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from the fourth row on the grid. The 24 year old began the day by carrying on his setup work of his Yamaha YZR-M1 in order to combat the lack of grip that was affecting him yesterday. After progressing step by step, he eventually shot across the finish line at the end of the FP3 session, whilst setting a lap time of 1’29.877 that saw him clinch 9th and pass through to QP2. Once the crucial 15-minute qualifying fight commenced, Smith got straight into the groove and remained optimistic of seizing a solid starting position for tomorrow’s 27 lap sprint. By the time the shootout had finished, the young Briton had undertaken a total of nine laps with his fastest lap being a 1’29.626, which saw him qualify in 12th position. Now, Smith, who is the leading satellite bike in the World Championship standings, will once again fully intent to produce a rocket start and then battle through the field as he aims for a strong finish down under.

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 9th

Time : 1'29.222 Laps : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015 “Today was finally a positive day for us in Phillip Island. This morning during FP3, things still weren’t really going to plan, but we made some significant steps forward in Free Practice 4. This session is virtually the only time in the weekend that we can ride without any pressure of having to do a good lap, so we used the 30 minutes to evaluate different ideas. In addition, I did a few laps behind Valentino, which helped me to understand which line to take in some corners. Anyway, the modifications that we tried with our setting, improved my feeling a lot and I started to feel comfortable again. My rhythm improved straight away, as well as my riding style and also the lines I was running, so I was confident about a solid qualifying session. In QP1, I was able to set a good lap time during my first and only run, so we were able to save a rear tyre for qualifying practice 2, but that meant I had to watch the end of the session from the garage. Straight after, in QP2, I felt like I didn't achieve the best that I could today, as I made some small mistakes in every lap of my second run. Still, after the somewhat challenging start that we had to face this weekend, I'm definitely satisfied with this result as we gave our all and we are not far off the pace which is promising for tomorrow."

Profil  

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 12th Time : 1'29.626 Laps : 9

Bradley Smith - 2015

“It goes without saying that qualifying in 12th is not what I wanted to achieve today, yet I am confident that I can recover well and still have a good finish here. We managed to partly amend the rear grip issue that we struggled with yesterday which is positive but, unfortunately, we didn’t improve on the whole as much as we needed to. This is somewhat due to the crash that was on my out lap at turn four in FP4, where I made a slight mistake. This lost us some time as we wanted to use both bikes to try some different settings. With regards to qualifying itself, during my first run I struggled to warm up the tyre properly, so my time wasn't very fast. Then, on my second outing, I set a 1’29.6 which was better and would have been a good lap time to improve from if I had set it during my first sequence of laps, but unfortunately the session ended. For tomorrow we need to continue our work as there are a few things that need enhancing, so therefore it will be a busy warm up session for us. Yet, my rhythm itself is not too far off the pace and I think we can make some changes to boost my performance more. For sure, it will be a long GP and starting from 12th will make things a bit more difficult, yet I am convinced that with a good start we can recover several positions. After that, I expect there to be a lot of close fighting, so I aim to get into the pack and push hard for a solid result.”

Profil  

   

Smith gets the battle underway at Phillip Island

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith undertook a solid start to proceedings at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and completed today in 8th  position as he took the initial steps in preparing for the 27 lap race on Sunday. The day kicked off with mixed weather conditions at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit as strong winds blew and small spots of rain fell throughout the session. Despite this, Bradley Smith powered through and started adjusting the setting of his Yamaha YZR-M1 at the circuit where he claimed his maiden MotoGP podium last season. By the close of FP1, he had posted a best time of 1’30.902 which left him in 7th. In the afternoon, the weather conditions improved and Smith got straight back to work as he looked to lower his lap time. The 24 year old progressed as he made consistent steps forward before finally speeding to a best time of 1’30.032 on his final lap out of 20, which saw him close the day in 8th overall. His performance was only six tenths of a second back from the top time and leaves the Briton confident of repeating his strong qualifying position from last year where he began the race from the head of the second row.

On the opposite side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro experienced a challenging first day at the fast Phillip Island circuit and completed the combined sessions in 15th in what was a fiercely contested start to the weekend. The 24 year old rider leapt into action as soon as the opening practice began and he started his work with the team to get the bike ready for the round 16 fight on Sunday. He set his personal best of 1’31.111 on his 10th out of 18 and concluded FP1 in 9th. Then, when the afternoon session commenced, Espargaro continued his efforts as he tried different setup options on his Yamaha YZR-M1 in order to improve corner entry and amend the lack of rear grip he was experiencing. He tirelessly completed 20 laps around the 4.4 kilometre Phillip Island circuit with his best time being a 1’30.552. The end result saw him finish in 15th yet only half a second back from his teammate. The Spanish youngster now focuses on tomorrow where he will aim to fight to a solid grid position in the vital qualifying session.

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 8th Time : 1'30.032 Laps : 37

Bradley Smith - 2015

“It’s great to be back at this superb circuit and overall, it has been a quite positive opening day of action. First thing is first though, the nature of this track is very fast so this morning was a massive wake up call because when you go into corners like the first and the third, as well as the back straight, it takes your breath away! It’s exciting to ride but it certainly awakens you even more at 10 in the morning! It took me a bit of time to adapt to this, but in the afternoon I got up to speed. We really focused on trying to improve my performance in the last sector of the track in FP2 as I believe that it will be very important to remain consistent in this area in the race. However, we are still struggling there a little bit, but we’ll continue our work on this tomorrow as we aim to find some more stability and grip. In any case, we are not too far from the front, which is positive especially considering that we had a few difficulties, so I’m convinced we’ll have a good base to start from tomorrow. So I look forward to jumping back on the Yamaha again and then clinching a good grid position for Sunday’s race.”

Profil  

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 15th

Time : 1'30.552 Laps : 38

Pol Espargaro - 2015 “Unfortunately, the opening to this race has been anything but easy. After what was a disappointing Japanese GP, we decided to make some changes to the bike and use this Friday as a kind of test day. It goes without saying  that today's weather really didn’t help us to complete our schedule, but in FP2 we were able to at least partly try want we wanted to. There are some positives as I have improved a little bit in some areas such as entering in the corners. However, I still have a lack of grip and that causes a lot of spinning, so it’s a struggle to keep the right line. In addition, I also tried to change my riding style almost every lap in order to try and understand more about how the bike was working. Obviously, the position is a long way from where I want to be, especially at this track which I love and where I have always been fast. Still, I believe that these tests were necessary as well as helpful and besides, I know how to ride fast at Phillip Island. Now we'll analyse today's data in order to try to find something for FP3 so that we can have the best bike possible for the rest of the GP"

Profil  

   

Smith and Espargaro prepared for Philip Island fight as they head down under

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro have jetted straight to Australia full of confidence for the second consecutive fly away race, fresh from their Motegi battle in Japan. Both riders are highly excited about the upcoming weekend at Phillip Island which is one of the most stunning tracks on the calendar with a magnificent ocean backdrop. It was built in 1956 and features seven left turns and five right as well as a straight of 900 metres which come together to create a high speed and fast flowing circuit that always promises exhilarating action on track for riders and fans alike.

Bradley Smith is relishing his return to Australia at the track where he produced his maiden podium finish last year as he fully intends to continue his firm and consistent run in the 2015 MotoGP season this week. The British star completed the Japanese Grand Prix in 7th as he battled at the stop and go Twin Ring Motegi circuit which was plagued with bad weather. This weekend Smith fully intends to make a step up at the 4.4 kilometre Phillip Island circuit and succeed in clinching the leading satellite honours. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro is counting down the days until he can launch into action on a track that he holds in high regard as he looks to score a notable finish in the 16th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion experienced a difficult Japanese Grand Prix where he fell heavily in the final moments of the race, yet he escaped injury. He will now look to bounce back strongly in Australia, at a circuit which holds a positive history for him and where he aims to conclude the 27 lap sprint inside the top six aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.

   
Bradley Smith
  Championship :6th Points : 152

Bradley Smith - 2015

“I am really excited about heading to Australia as Phillip Island is definitely a track that I have great memories of after my podium finish there last year. However, I can’t promise that I’ll do the same again this weekend, but I’ll try my absolute best and I am looking forward to the challenge. To be honest I am feeling really confident at the moment because my Yamaha has been working very well at Motegi and my pace in the dry was strong. On the other hand, the team did a great job with the setting for the wet conditions and it’s fair to say that we have taken some big steps forward in that direction. This makes me feel more comfortable in case there could be more wet races in the remaining three GP’s in 2015. Regarding Phillip Island, I really enjoy riding there and I am sure a lot of other rides do too. It’s flowing nature certainly suits the style of the Yamaha which was proven by the result last year – an all Yamaha lock out on the podium. Still, we need to take note about the weather because there is always chance of rain with the track being right next to the ocean. Nevertheless, I am primed for the battle and I’ll do my best to get into the top six.”

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro

 

Championship : 10th Points : 88

Pol Espargaro - 2015“It goes without saying that I am truly looking forward to go to Australia as Phillip Island is an incredible circuit and definitely my favourite track. Still my memories of last year are quite disappointing as I was running in a podium position and so close to scoring my first rostrum in the premier class until luck went against me and I fell not far from the end. Yet, I feel optimistic about making amends this season, which I need to do after the challenging time that we had in Japan. Fortunately I am ok after the crash and, of course, I am more determined than ever to get a strong result to get us back on track. The circuit suits the Yamaha so we need to take advantage of this and try to hit the ground running, and we must make the most of the practice sessions in order to get ready for Sunday. It really is a great place to be and furthermore, I hope to catch some waves as well before we head to the track!"

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

“It’s time for one of the Grand Prix’s that everyone looks forward to as Phillip Island is truly breath taking to visit! The circuit has such a deep history and it has a really smooth, flowing layout that always provides the perfect platform for some great racing, plus it must be incredible to ride Lukey heights on a MotoGP bike. We are hoping that both of our guys can battle to be inside the top six in the race after what we saw last year. They did their best at Motegi even though the weather conditions were far from ideal. Brad continued his good form and got 7th, which means he still holds his record of finishing every GP in 2015 no lower than 8th. Moreover, we shouldn't forget that he scored his debut podium in the premier class last year on this track, so we are confident that he can be fighting with some of the factory MotoGP bikes in Sunday’s race. As for Pol, he had a tough time and fell heavily at Motegi, but he was deemed ok after visiting the medical staff, much to our relief. He has a strong record at Phillip Island, so we are sure that he can be right up there with his teammate and fighting for a solid finish. Therefore, both riders are fired up and ready for action, like every GP, so lets see what happens in Australia, where hopefully it will stay dry!”

 

 

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