2015 - Spain - Aragon

Smith and Espargaro conclude Aragon challenge inside the top ten

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith battled his way to 8th position in the demanding 23 lap sprint around the MotorLand Aragon circuit today aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. When the lights went out, the young Briton undertook a decent start from 10th to close the first lap one position higher from where he began. He then built up his speed before firmly setting into his race rhythm as he confidently attempted to force his way into the top six. By the end of the 7th lap, Smith was running comfortably in 6th as he homed in on Andrea Dovizioso ahead. However, he unfortunately ran wide eleven laps from the end and was shuffled back two places. Nevertheless, the 24 year old remained focused and set his sights on closing back in on the fierce fight for 5th, with Cal Crutchlow in front of him. Smith pushed onwards as he continued to plug the gap and on the last lap he was still right behind Crutchlow, but despite his best efforts, he fired across the finish line in 8th. The result sees the young British rider still hold his record of completing every round this season in no lower than 8th. Furthermore, he remains as one of only three MotoGP riders who have concluded every race and he will now confidently head to Japan for the 15th event of the 2015 World Championship.
 
Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro finished the MotoGP race one position behind his teammate after producing a resolute effort in front of 67,000 Spanish fans. The young Spaniard got off to a solid start today by completing the morning’s warm up practice in 3rd position, leaving him fully optimistic of a good run in the afternoon’s race. When the fight began, Espargaro lunged forward from the head of the second row and diced with the factory MotoGP riders as he closed the first lap in 6th. He was running in 5th one lap later as he looked to mount a challenge to battle the front runners, but unfortunately he then slipped back to 9th on the 4th lap. Yet, Espargaro remained fully determined as he undertook a recovery charge to close back in on the group in front. At just over half race distance the 2013 Moto2 World Champion was closing in as he joined the pack of five, including his teammate fighting for 5th. He did his best to move in on Smith, despite suffering with an issue with his gear lever, yet time ran out before the chequered flag was waved. Next up for the 24 year old is the Motul Grand Prix of Japan where he intends to achieve a strong finish aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1
   
Bradley Smith
Position : 8th Championship :5th Points : 143

Bradley Smith - 2015

“I have to be happy with the result today after what was certainly a tough race at Aragon. All of the different manufactures were in the group that I was fighting in and each one was stronger in different areas of the track. As a result, the pack was really competitive and all of us were pushing as much as we could. Unfortunately, I made the mistake when I was right behind Dovizioso and  almost ran into him. To avoid this, I had to go wide and it took me ten laps to make up that second that I lost which just proves how easily matched we all were. Yet, I am pleased with the result, especially considering that things didn’t go exactly as we wanted them to this weekend. Moreover, we were still in the hunt for 5th today which I was not convinced about before the start of the race. Therefore, to come away with this result and without loosing too many points in the championship is overall quite positive. In addition, it’s easy to make a mistake at a track like this, so I am happy to have kept it on two wheels! Next up is Motegi which I am looking forward to. The track layout is gruelling but I feel that I can run well there and I hope to give the Japanese fans a good show.”

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 9th

Championship : 10th Points : 88

Pol Espargaro - 2015"It goes without saying that today's race was very demanding for me. The beginning itself was actually really positive but just when I pulled away from the riders behind me, I had to run wide as my gear didn't engage and I was in neutral. Because of this, I lost several positions as well as some vital seconds which I tried to make up afterwards but it really wasn't easy. In the following laps, I checked which engine maps gave me the best chance of catching the group in front. However, whilst I was pushing my hardest to make up the time, I lost the rubber on my gear shifter which caused the lever to be very slippery so shifting up and down was truly difficult for the rest of the race. Taking all of this into consideration, we have to be quite pleased with the fact that we finished less than two seconds from fifth, even though it is a pity to end up in 9th. We now have to look forward to the three overseas races, with the first round being in Japan, a place which I'm happy to return to after the incredible experience this summer at the Suzuka 8 Hours race.

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"It was another top ten finish for our two guys, but in all honesty, I can’t hide that we were expecting a bit more in terms of the final results today. Both of our boys had good starts and Pol was right up there with the leaders and looking good. However, he made a mistake and lost contact with the group which was a shame but he regrouped and fought right until the end in the second pack which was clearly where the action was. As for Brad, he did a good job also and to collect another set of points strengthens his championship fight. In the race, we knew he had a similar pace to Pol, even though the qualifying position was not ideal. So to have both guys finish inside the top ten is solid, yet we are a strong team and very competitive, so we need to find something more for the next races. We could have possibly been a position or two higher, but at the moment the four guys in front ride with a different rhythm and are very quick. The 25 second gap from the leader back to our guys is too big and this is what we have to work on. Tomorrow there is an important test and it will be interesting to see what we can do and improve. Today, we did our best and next is Japan where we hope to obtain two results on Sunday that are a bit higher up the field."

 

Espargaro strikes hard to clinch 4th on the grid for Aragon MotoGP race

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro stormed to 4th position in qualifying today at the MotorLand Aragon circuit and will begin the battle at the 14th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship as the leading satellite bike on the grid. The young Spaniard started the vital qualifying day by continuing his setup work and then speeding to a best time of 1’48.449 in FP3. This left him in 7th place in the session but 8th overall and able to pass straight through the Q2. Once the intensely competitive 15 minute shootout commenced, the 24 year old jumped onto his Yamaha YZR-M1, determined to seize a top placement. After building up his pace, Espargaro powered to a best lap of 1’47.334 on his sixth out of seven, which resulted in him securing 4th with the gap to third place being just over a tenth of a second. Therefore, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion will start from the head of the second row as he equalled his best qualifying position of the year. He intends to achieve his target of battling as closely as possible with the factory MotoGP bikes and aims to finish inside the top six.

On the other hand, Bradley Smith dug deep and fought relentlessly throughout the intense Q2 session and he will line up at the front of the fourth row for the MotoGP race tomorrow. The young Briton kicked off the day by finishing the third free practice in 11th place due to a crash interrupting his session. Yet, his strong lap time of 1’48.318 in FP2 yesterday positioned him in 7th in the overall standings and able to glide straight through to Qualifying 2. As the 15 minute battle got underway Smith leapt into action and looked to land a top starting position to begin the 23 lap fight from. The 24 year old bolted to a best time of 1’47.830 which left him just over three tenths from rear of the second row. This result was a full second quicker than his qualifying time from last year and Smith will seek to undertake a rocket start tomorrow as he hopes to clinch the leading satellite honours at the meandering MotorLand Aragon circuit.

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 4th

Time : 1'47.334 Laps : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015 "Fourth position is definitely a positive end to today's qualifying and it is a promising starting point for the upcoming race. Yet, it hasn't been an easy day as we had to face some difficulties with a lack of grip during FP4 when I ran on a used rear tyre. Afterwards, during the qualifying with the two new rubbers, the conditions changed completely and I felt much more confident. I was searching for the limit a bit during my first run and then I gave it everything I had on the second tyre and the final result is really pleasing. This is even more important as the first corner here is a bit dangerous and some other turns in the opening sector are tricky regarding the braking at the start of the race, so it's truly positive to be able to kick off proceedings from the front of the field.”

Profil  

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 10th Time : 1'47.830 Laps : 8

Bradley Smith - 2015

“Although my grid position is a little further back from where I have been qualifying recently, the weekend has been going well and I am quite positive about getting into the top six tomorrow in the race. I felt comfortable as soon as we got running here, even though I had a little fall this morning. To be honest, we still don’t know exactly what happened, but one possible reason is that the tyres weren’t up to temperature yet. Anyway, in Q2 I expected to do a 47.8 or a 47.9 lap time and I was actually able to do this time for three laps consistently which bodes well for the race. However, today we were missing that last 0.4 of a second, which would have resulted in me scoring a strong qualifying position. We need to analyse a few more details tomorrow in the warm up and then finalise our plan for the race. We will then go from there and hopefully I will be able to get in the mix after a good start.”

Profil  

   

Smith straight back in the groove as he closes opening day in third

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith carried his notable form over from the Misano GP and concluded the opening day of action at the MotorLand Aragon circuit by superbly clinching 3rd. The day’s action began under sunny conditions and Smith wasted no time in getting up to speed as he powered to a best time of 1’49.790 which left him in 7th position at the end of FP1. During this practice, the British rider started his work by testing various settings for his Yamaha YZR-M1 in preparation for the 23 lap race on Sunday at the 5.1 kilometre track and once FP2 commenced, Smith continued his efforts. His determination shone through and he pulled the pin to speed to a fastest lap of 1’48.318 which saw him finish in third and inside the all Yamaha top three. In addition, the 24 year old also illustrated his relentless work ethic by completing 20 laps, which was more than any other MotoGP rider in the practice. He will now seek to follow up his strong start to the 14th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship where he aims to qualify on the front two rows for the fifth consecutive time in tomorrow’s all important shootout.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro kicked off the MotoGP weekend in his home country by shaking down the opening practices in a positive manner and seeing out the day with a time of 1’48.445 that left him in 6th overall. The Spaniard, who intended to bounce back from an unfortunate end to the Misano Grand Prix, leapt onto his Yamaha YZR-M1 and bolted into action when the morning session began. He rode a best time of 1’49.868 which left him in 8th as he embarked on altering the setup of his MotoGP bike. When the afternoon practice started, Espargaro got straight back to work at the meandering MotorLand Aragon circuit and after pushing throughout the session, he finished in 6th. This was after completing 18 laps and in addition, he was only just over a tenth from his teammate. This encouraging start to the event leaves the 24 year old confident of a strong qualifying performance tomorrow as he aims to replicate his 2014 grid position at the front of the second row.

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 3rd Time : 1'48.318 Laps : 38

Bradley Smith - 2015

“It has been a positive start to the Aragon MotoGP weekend and 3rd is definitely a good position to close day one in. As soon as we kicked off proceedings this morning, I felt comfortable on the bike and I was able to quickly find a solid rhythm. Then in the afternoon, we worked more with the hard compound in order to evaluate the potential for the race. As a conclusion, the front is positive yet the rear is not quite as strong but it is still working well at this track. Moreover, we made some steps forward with the electronics regarding both the engine braking and the traction control which I am pleased about. So tomorrow, we will now work a bit more on the race pace and the setting in order to have a good performance for the whole GP on Sunday. Also, I would be pleased if we could improve the front stability in some corners, especially when braking on the maximum lean angle. Yet, to close the day in 3rd is a good start, so we will carry on our work and hopefully qualify on the front two rows.”

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 6th

Time : 1'49.445 Laps : 37

Pol Espargaro - 2015"I really wouldn't say that today has been the best day of the year for me, however considering the huge margin of improvement that we still have to make, a top six finish is a truly satisfying end to the opening day of action at Aragon. This morning when I got on the bike, my feeling was not the best straight away and then again in the second practice session, I struggled quite a lot with changing direction, especially in the fast corners. Yet, I remain convinced that we can rectify this situation for tomorrow morning after looking deeply into today's data as our goal is to still qualify on the front two rows of the grid.”

Profil 

   

 

Smith and Espargaro primed for MotorLand Aragon battle

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pairing of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro are prepared and ready to fight to two strong results at the 14th round of the 2015 MotoGP season at the impressive MotorLand Aragon circuit. With both riders experiencing contrasting fortunes at the San Marino GP, they will now be seeking to move forward and seal a set of positive finishes ahead of the triple fly away races. The circuit is a firm favourite for most of the riders due to its nature, which pushes them to their limits, whilst also ensuring a highly entertaining show for the lively Spanish crowd as well. Smith and Espargaro will navigate themselves around the high-speed 5.1 kilometre Aragon track, which consists of a straight of 968 metres as well as 10 left corners and 7 right.

Bradley Smith will be looking to follow up his brilliantly executed run to 2nd in the San Marino Grand Prix with another strong result at Aragon as he intends to continue his notable form in 2015 plus add valuable points to his standing of 5th in the World Championship. At Misano, the young Briton rocketed to the rostrum after slipping back to 21st due to the tricky conditions, but he bravely persevered and followed his ambitious strategy to score his best ever finish in the premier class. As a result, the 24 year old rider will be gunning for a top six this weekend. Meanwhile Pol Espargaro will intend to bounce back from a disappointing end to the Misano GP, by speeding to the leading satellite position at the event in his home country. The Spaniard has a positive record at the track, having won twice previously in the lower classes and he will seek to close the European run of races with a confident performance before heading to the flyaway Grand Prix's.

   
Bradley Smith
  Championship : 5th Points : 135

Bradley Smith - 2015

“Firstly, it goes without saying that I can't wait to get back on the Yamaha after the great result that we had last weekend! It was a complicated race there but I clenched my teeth, took the gamble and it paid off. To score 2nd really is a highlight of this season and it is a testament to the hard work that the team and I have put in. Therefore, at this weekend we will try again and of course the podium finish really motivates me for further success. Fortunately, it looks as though the Aragon race should be dry, but never say never. Last year I finished the race in 5th which was positive, yet this season, I feel I am in a much better place and my confidence has increased. However, the Championship is a lot more competitive, so I'll be pushing to repeat last season's result this time. We will see what happens in the race on Sunday, but I am ready to fight and score another solid result, plus with Yamaha having tested there this summer, my confidence is even higher. ”

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro

 

Championship : 9th Points : 81

Pol Espargaro - 2015"After the finish that we really didn't deserve in Misano, I am certain that we can turn everything around this weekend in Aragon. The whole event in San Marino was quite positive, but unfortunately it didn't come together on race day as the weather interfered again and close to the end I had to retire due to a technical issue. Nevertheless, Aragon is a track that I really enjoy racing on and it's even more special as it is in my home country! The circuit is fast, there's no doubt about that, but the whole layout is really great fun to ride and it compliments the Yamaha YZR-M1. Last year was eventful to say the least due to the rain on race day and I hope that won't occur again as I want a normal dry Sunday. What we'll aim to do is shake down on Friday and set the bike up, before fighting for a competitive grid position on Saturday in order to be as prepared as possible for the 23 lap sprint on Sunday. It will be hard work, but I'm more determined than ever and the team and I will really give it everything we've got to finish the race in a solid placement in front of my fans before we head east to Japan. ”

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"It's that time of the year where we head to Spain for the final Grand Prix before the triple fly away races and it's vital for the riders to get a good result in Aragon in order to get some momentum. In addition, we'll be hoping for a dry race, unlike last year, so that it's a bit easier on my heart! Brad had a superb run to 2nd in Misano after staying out on track on slick tyres when the rain started to fall. We thought this was a bit risky, but evidently his calculations were perfect and he stormed from 21st to 2nd! He really deserved this result and for sure, it will motivate him even more for the rest of the year. On the other hand, we were all sorry for Pol who had a strong pace until race day. However, he will come back more determined than ever in his home country where he has had previous successes and we all know he will hit the ground running and give his all to finish in the top six."

 

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