2015 - Qatar - Doha

Bright start under the floodlights in Qatar for Smith and Espargaro

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Bradley Smith commenced his 2015 MotoGP campaign with an assertive ride to seize 8th at the Losail International Circuit under the floodlights. The young British rider began the race from the head of the third row in 7th and leapt forward as the lights went out to complete the first lap in 5th. Smith remained focused and set into his strong race pace and by the 4th lap, he was running in 7th place. The 23 year old rode consistently over the following laps and was in 8th position with eight laps left to run. This was whilst being locked in a fierce battle to be the top satellite rider as well as 7th place with three other MotoGP competitors. After being pushed back to 9th on lap 15, he burst past Hernandez to reclaim 8th shortly afterwards, before crossing the line only marginally behind Crutchlow who was half a second ahead. The encouraging finish sees the British rider open his 2015 account with a positive result and leaves him optimistic of obtaining another top finish at the next round in Texas.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro finished the challenging Qatar night race right behind his teammate in 9th position after undertaking a strong effort. The young Spaniard completed the first lap in 6th position and was right in the hunt with the front running bikes. He was bumped back to 10th on the fifth lap but remained completely focused on regaining ground on his Yamaha YZR-M1. With only a quarter of race distance left to run, Espargaro was involved in the dice for 7th with his teammate and expertly clinched 9th on the 17th lap. The fastest satellite MotoGP rider of 2014 eventually met the chequered flag in this position, concluding the weekend with a positive collection of points and leaving him primed for success at the next race.

   
Bradley Smith
 Position : 8th Championship : 8th  Points : 8

Bradley Smith - 2015"I must admit that despite the good result, I am slightly disappointed as we were so close to being the top satellite bike at Qatar. This is our ambition for the year, so to miss this opportunity is a bit annoying. However, to finish only half a second back from Cal isn’t bad at all, especially at this early stage of the season. I had a good feeling with the bike during the whole race and we kept a consistent pace. Yet, I wasn’t really able to race how I wanted to and I had to remain riding in a smooth style throughout the whole distance. This was a bit difficult when battling with the Honda or Ducati’s because those bikes require different riding styles, which need the rider to be a bit more aggressive. Nevertheless to finish 8th and collect some valuable points as well as some useful experience and being so close to our objective of the top satellite bike is not a disappointment. In addition, we will improve and learn from Jorge and Valentino in order to be closer to the front at Austin."

Profil

Pol Espargaro
 Position : 9th Championship : 9th  Points : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015"It’s been a difficult weekend for us. We experienced some issues on the first two days, yet we were able to improve them yesterday and during this morning’s warm up, I felt truly confident on the bike. Having said that, we have had a slight problem with the electronics throughout the weekend, which we were not able to clarify so we didn’t adjust the traction control in order to remain in the best possible way. Therefore the setup of the anti wheelie also wasn't ideal and I lost a lot in acceleration. I just couldn't pass the riders in front and I was often late on the brakes, so to be honest it was a real struggle. However, the main positive is that we managed to finish the Grand Prix and in any case, this weekend is normally a bit of an unusual one as we run at night and the conditions of the track are always changing so it’s difficult to take conclusion out of today's race. Of course, I’m not over the moon about today’s result as it was not my ambition. Yet, now we have to work on solving these problems at the next race in Austin where we must take advantage of the weekend as soon as the first session commences."

Profil

 

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"What a race and a brilliant way to start the 2015 World championship! Qatar always produces some incredible racing at the start of the year, but this one was very special for sure. It also seems to be a track that suits Valentino very well and the battle for the front was a really exciting one for everybody to watch. Coming back to the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, we have started the championship well and there are many positives to consider when reviewing the weekend. We were only 0.5 of a second back from the first satellite bike and finishing in 8th and 9th is a strong finish which aids us in clinching 4th in the team championship. In addition, being only twelve seconds from the winner is a lot better than at some moments last year. Clearly we have improved and are closer to the front but now both riders need to be sharper with overtaking. We always knew that the top ten is a good target for this year as there are so many fast riders on track, so now we have to carry on in this positive groove at the next races. We are happy and confident after the first round and also after the tough winter testing, which certainly paid off, so we will see you all in Texas for hopefully an even better result." 

 

Smith to charge from 7th on the grid for opening Qatar race

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Smith to charge from 7th on the grid for opening Qatar race

Bradley Smith will begin his 2015 MotoGP campaign from the head of the third row of the grid after a brilliant display of determination in qualifying at Qatar. The young British rider started the day confidently by completing FP4 in 7th place, before challenging in qualifying session one. Here, the 23 year old rider undertook a superb effort in the dying seconds to post a time of 1’55.235 and move through to the second 15 minute shootout. The final qualifying saw Smith meet the chequered flag in 7th place after speeding to a best lap of 1’54.732. This was all the more impressive in the fiercely competitive class with the first eleven riders of the grid being covered by under a second. Furthermore, Smith’s lap was only six tenths of a second from the pole position time and his qualifying performance sees him primed for tomorrow’s 22 lap sprint.

Meanwhile Pol Espargaro will start the first race of the year from 10th position on the grid aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 under the floodlights. The young Spanish rider completed FP4 in 6th place with a positive display before qualifying session two commenced. Here the 2013 Moto2 World champion leapt into action at the Losail International circuit and by the close of the intense shootout, the Spaniard produced a best time of 1’55.004, with a gap of only half a second separating him from the front row. Espargaro’s tenacious performance in qualifying leaves him poised for a top points scoring finish tomorrow in order to kick start his 2015 season positively.

   
Bradley Smith
 Position : 7th  Time : 1'54.732  Laps : 7

Bradley Smith - 2015"I’m really happy with today’s performance and it’s pleasing to finish so close to the second row. I certainly didn’t make it easy on myself as I had to go through QP1! Yet, I think we’ve been battling with some tyre issues recently. The one I had yesterday wasn’t good and the same thing happened again in QP1 today but we didn't adjust anything else on the bike other than changing the tyre and I improved by half a second. It’s a bit of a gamble with tyres at the moment because of the test and the tyres have been warmed up and then cooled down quite a lot. Anyway, I will start the race from 7th on the grid and I will certainly be in the hunt for a good result. I am feeling optimistic and my race pace is positive so I’m confident of a strong finish to begin this year. I made it count when it mattered today and gave my absolute all, so although I didn’t help myself initially, we’ve pulled through and now I’m ready for tomorrow."

Profil

Pol Espargaro
 Position : 10th Time : 1'55.004  Laps : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015"All in all, I can’t be too dissatisfied about the day. The final free practice went very well as we managed to solve some issues with the used tyres which we were having over the weekend. However, after that, we had to start qualifying with new tyres and so we had to face a few other things that we need to adjust for tomorrow. Nevertheless, our bike has been competitive and I believe that we are ready for the race. Of course, starting from the fourth row of the grid won’t make things any easier and for sure, the Ducati’s will be strong, especially at the beginning before their tyres begin to drop. Yet, our rhythm is not too bad and if we can be aggressive at the start and then maybe pass some of the bikes in front of us, we can commence the 2015 season on a high."

Profil

 

Tech3 pair push onwards in the desert on day 2 at Qatar

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro concluded the second day of action at the opening round in Qatar to finish in 10th position after a spirited performance under the floodlights. The young Spaniard kicked off proceedings by finishing in 14th in the second practice, however, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion remained optimistic of improvement and focused on the FP3 session where he adjusted the setup of the Yamaha YZR-M1. Espargaro powered onwards and scored a best lap of 1’55.328 that left him only 0.506 from the leading rider, after cutting a full second from his yesterday's time in the intensely competitive field. His performance in the third practice session, sees him glide straight through to Qualifying 2 tomorrow, where he will fully intend to clinch a top qualifying placement for the first race of the year on Sunday.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith rode determinedly and gave his all before completing the challenging day in 16th position. The young Briton, who reaches the milestone of competing in 150 Grand Prix’s in all classes this Sunday, opened the second day at the Losail International circuit by finishing in 9th in the second free practice. In the afternoon Smith continued to push, yet was unfortunate in not being able to improve on his time set earlier in the day, which left him in 16th overall. Nevertheless, his best lap of 1’55.741 was just seven tenths from the top 5 and will see him compete in the Qualifying 1 session tomorrow. The 23 year old still remains positive and confident of seizing a strong result in the 22 lap race on Sunday.

   
Pol Espargaro
 Position : 10th Time : 1'55.328  Laps : 17

Pol Espargaro - 2015 "For sure, I can’t be completely happy as finishing in tenth is nothing to be thrilled about. However, maybe I could say that I'm satisfied in one respect as we are right behind the factory guys and also the gap to the leader is not that big. Moreover we still have some margin to improve as we are struggling with our rear grip, yet I'm confident that we can solve this issue tomorrow. In my opinion, it’s normal that we ended up in tenth in a session which turned out to be a qualification for us and also, my teammate who has always been fast at this track, is even further behind. I don't think we deserve the disadvantage we have because of the tyre allocation, but that's how it is so we just have to deal with it. Fortunately we managed to go straight to QP2 but for sure, it won't be easy at all to achieve a decent grid position tomorrow."

Profil

 

Bradley Smith
 Position : 16th  Time : 1'55.741  Laps : 16

Bradley Smith - 2015 "Of course, the end result today wasn’t what we planned at all. To be honest, we were going really well in the first two runs in FP3 and I felt confident on the old tyres at the beginning. Then on the second run, we tried the hard compound and I was one of the fastest riders on this type of tyre. However, we then put the new medium on at the end of the session but it didn’t work well and I couldn’t improve my lap time. Yet, I can’t be negative as the bike feels good and I am certain that if we make a few small modifications, we can improve tomorrow. Qualifying 1 will be tough, especially with the riders who will use the soft tyres, but I am convinced that it is still possible that we can do a good job. We have been competitive all weekend and we were just unlucky when it was time to do a time attack. These things happen, but I’m glad it was today and not tomorrow or Sunday. We’ll stay positive, try to improve in a few small areas and then prepare for a fast lap in qualifying."

Profil

Tech3 pair back on track as 2015 begins in Qatar

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Pol Espargaro began the first day of the 2015 MotoGP season with best lap time of 1’56.361 as the MotoGP paddock returned back to action at the Losail International Circuit. The young Spaniard got straight to work with his Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team and began refining the setup of the Yamaha YZR-M1 in preparation for the opening race on Sunday. The 23 year old finished the session in 11th and he set his quickest time on the 3rd lap as he completed 18 in total. His efforts saw him only a second from the top time and he also scored the fastest speed of the Yamaha MotoGP bikes with 344.6 kmh. Espargaro now looks onwards to tomorrow where he will intend to improve his position.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith concluded the opening day of action under the floodlights in Qatar with a 13th placed finish in FP1. The young Briton dug deep and completed a total of 20 laps, which was more than any other rider, as he began making the necessary steps and changes to his MotoGP bike. Smith produced his best time of 1’56.428 on his 11th lap which left him only 0.067 behind his teammate. Having kicked off his MotoGP campaign today, the 23 year old optimistically awaits the other two free practice sessions tomorrow with a view of making additional steps forward and ascending up the grid.

   
Pol Espargaro
 Position : 11th Time : 1'56.428  Laps : 18

Pol Espargaro - 2015"It’s finally time to get the wheels in motion for 2015 and I am very excited to contest in the first race. We have had a positive pre season and the bike is at a level that I am happy with, but of course it will be a challenging race and this year, I am under no illusions that it will be easy to finish close to the front. There will be a lot more riders who can fight for podiums and top positions when compared to the previous years. Having said that, I will do nothing but my best. The team did a great job over the winter so now it’s up to me and I am ready. Qatar is always special as it’s the only night race, which is really interesting and different for the MotoGP riders. I look forward to getting back on the Yamaha YZR-M1 and then giving my all to seize a good result which will set me up confidently for the next GP’s."

Profil

 

Bradley Smith
 Position : 13th  Time : 1'56.361  Laps : 20

Bradley Smith - 2015"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."

Profil

2015 season arrives for Tech3 duo as the floodlights turn on at Qatar

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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The long wait is finally over as the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team looks positively towards the opening race of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship this weekend in Qatar. The 18 round season battle commences at the unique Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar and after a confidence boosting pre season, both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith are delighted to be heading back to the track.

Pol Espargaro intends to show his speed and continue challenging to be the top satellite MotoGP rider after clinching that title in his debut last season. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion now sets his sights on a positive opening performance in Qatar where he will seek to plug the gap to the leading bikes in the fiercely contested premier class of motorcycle racing. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith produced glimpses of his high potential for the forthcoming year with a number of convincing performances in testing. The British rider who claimed a maiden rostrum in Australia in 2014, aims to kick start his 2015 campaign with a strong performance at the 22 lap battle around the 5400 metre Losail International circuit.

   
Bradley Smith
     

Bradley Smith - 2015"Obviously, I am thrilled that we are racing again this weekend and it’s so good to get back on track! My off season was very productive and I did a lot of training to ensure that I am as prepared as possible for this year. I am also pleased with what we accomplished in the testing and I am excited about the potential of the Yamaha, plus the team and I did a lot of work, which I must thank them for. Realistically, there will be a few more tweaks that we need to do when we arrive, but we must hit the ground running and make the most of the available practice time in order to prepare for Sunday. I am confident of a good result here and will certainly be looking to battle as close as possible to the factory bikes. I’m already gritting my teeth with anticipation for Sunday’s race and I can’t wait to get going."

Profil

Pol Espargaro
     

Pol Espargaro - 2015"It’s finally time to get the wheels in motion for 2015 and I am very excited to contest in the first race. We have had a positive pre season and the bike is at a level that I am happy with, but of course it will be a challenging race and this year, I am under no illusions that it will be easy to finish close to the front. There will be a lot more riders who can fight for podiums and top positions when compared to the previous years. Having said that, I will do nothing but my best. The team did a great job over the winter so now it’s up to me and I am ready. Qatar is always special as it’s the only night race, which is really interesting and different for the MotoGP riders. I look forward to getting back on the Yamaha YZR-M1 and then giving my all to seize a good result which will set me up confidently for the next GP’s."

Profil

 

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"The MotoGP show is back on the road this weekend at the exciting season opener in Qatar after the long break from Valencia. It’s great to be back racing and the team as well as the riders have all had a good time over the winter getting prepared. Of course, this season will be more of a challenge with the field now being very competitive but Pol and Bradley are fired up and will no doubt, give their absolute best at Qatar as well as the other races. Pol impressed us last campaign with his ‘never give up’ attitude plus his tireless efforts and the icing on the cake was finishing as the top satellite rider. We expect him to start his year strongly here and continue his work from last season. In addition, Bradley got some great results in 2014, especially that debut podium in Australia and he’s had a good pre season plus seems confident in the capability of not only the bike, but himself too. He also started the race in Qatar on the front row last year so therefore, we hope he can fight as close as possible to the factory bikes along with his teammate. There are 18 races which will all be very tightly contested, but we as a team are all ready and excited for this year. Now it’s time for the lights to go out and start racing again and the fans will surely be in for a treat." 

 

 

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