2015 - Spain - Catalunya

Smith concludes test on top to complete positive Catalunya visit

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith followed up his hard fought 5th place finish at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya by finishing at the top of the pile in the post race MotoGP test. The young British rider tested various settings for the front end of his Yamaha YZR-M1 in order to combat the lack of grip which he has experienced at some of the previous rounds. Smith undertook 18 laps in total before midday and posted a best time of 1'42.018. However, torrential rain then fell at the circuit, drawing a premature close to the test. Nevertheless, his performance left him 0.051 ahead of the next rider and sees him fully confident of riding to another top result at the Motul TT Assen.

Meanwhile Pol Espargaro finished the post Catalunya Grand Prix test in 8th position after experimenting with the balance and the riding position on his Yamaha YZR-M1. The Spaniard, who unfortunately fell during his home Grand Prix yesterday, got straight to work and rode 18 laps this morning before the thunderstorms interrupted the session. He set his fastest lap on his 8th which was a 1'42.637 leaving him in 8th and six tenths of a second back from his teammate who topped the standings. Despite the weather causing an early finish for the 24 year old rider, he remains confident of clinching success at the next race in the Netherlands at the legendary Assen circuit.

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 1st Time : 1'42.018  Laps : 18

Bradley Smith - 2015 "Today was a really interesting test for us and I'm pleased with the outcome. It was very short at just 18 laps, but I knew that I had to get out on track early because we were aware that the rain was coming in the afternoon. In total, we did four runs and we were able to analyse some different settings for the front suspension which enabled us to get a bit more feeling and stability. All three solutions were positive so this means that we have a good base to start from in the future. We completed 90% of our work today as we weren't expecting a long test. Altogether, we had five or six runs planned and in the end, I ran four so we didn't miss out on a lot. The lap time was ok considering the cooler track temperature this morning, but I feel happy that we've made a good step forward and I can't wait for the Motul TT Assen next week."

Profil  

   
Pol Espargaro
Position : 8th Time : 1'42.637  Laps : 18

Pol Espargaro - 2015 "We wanted to try a few different setup options and today should have been a very imporant day, but unfortunately the rain prevented us from making a lot a progress. I only rode 18 laps and it started raining quite early so in the end, we just had time to experiment with the height of the bike and the riding position. Yet, due to the lack of track time, the results are inconclusive for now as we couldn't evaluate it fully and on a new set of tyres. Furthermore, there wasn't enough time to get into a good rhythm to see how the changes affected the bike over a number of laps. Therefore, we are leaving here a bit dissatisfied, as today should have been vital to test after the tricky weekend we had. However, we will improve in Assen where I intend to bounce back strongly."

Profil  

   

Smith speeds to top five finish at Catalunya

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith rode to another strong result aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya to equal his best performance of the 2015 season and finish in 5th. The young British rider commenced the 25 lap battle from 8th on the grid and undertook an expert start as the lights went out before going on to finish the first lap in 6th. He quickly set into his race pace and posted strong lap times that elevated him up to 5th. As the race distance progressed, he eventually became involved in a tussle with Andrea Iannone who he kept at bay until the 18th lap. Smith was shuffled back to 6th but remained resolute and pushed onwards. With five laps remaining he was running comfortably in 5th and powered across the finish line in this position. His performance today sees him close to one point of Marc Marquez in 5th position in the MotoGP riders championship standings.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro was unfortunate at his Home Grand Prix as he fell in the opening stages of the race. The Spaniard began the race with a superb start from 11th place on the MotoGP grid and closed the first lap in 4th having overhauled 7 riders. He then set into a strong rhythm as he intended to continue his progress towards the front of the field. Yet, his luck ran out and he fell on the 4th lap whilst locked in a battle with his teammate and Dani Pedrosa which marked a disappointing and premature end to his promising start to the 7th round of the MotoGP World Championship.

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 5th Championship : 6th  Points : 68

Bradley Smith - 2015"Fifth place is a fantastic result for us after what was a tricky weekend! The team did a superb job and we worked non stop every day to try and make a setting that we could use for the race. Eventually, we made a big step in time for the GP with the front setting of the bike, but maybe it was ultra conservative and it hampered me a little in terms of performance. Yet, it meant that I had a lot of feeling in the front which resulted in me knowing whether it was going to tuck or not and this was useful as we saw a few guys lose the front. However, even though it may have limited me a bit, I still managed to adapt to it in the first three laps and then I got into my rhythm. In all honesty, the pace was slow but it was the best that I could do and in the end, consistency is key as this result was great for the championship. Now I am just one point behind Marc and 21 ahead of Cal for the satellite bike battle which is strong from my point of view. We have a test tomorrow which will be interesting for us and we will look to amend the issues which have been affecting us in the past couple of race, that have all been quite similar. So it’s no rest for me and I plan to work hard tomorrow with the team so we can improve the bike for Assen and the remaining races this year."

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro
Position : DNF  Championship : 9th  Points : 45

Pol Espargaro - 2015"It's a very upsetting way to finish the weekend, especially as it is my home Grand Prix. We knew it would have been a challenging race as we were struggling during the weekend when the track temperature was very high. Yet, I was optimistic about today and after the start, things seemed to come together quite well. I was able to recover seven positions straight away but after that I started to have an issue whilst turning the bike and unfortunately I ended up losing the front at the third corner. It's really disappointing but we don't have much time to think about it and we can’t dwell on it as we are testing tomorrow. This test will give us the chance to work on the difficulties that we had to face during these three days which we need to amend in order to be prepared for our next challenge at Assen."

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"Even though it wasn’t such a special race to watch, I must firstly congratulate Yamaha on their result today and also their domination in the MotoGP class this year. For the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders, it was a bittersweet race and we knew the track situation would be tough as the surface was greasy. However, both of our boys had very strong starts and they were on each side of the front pack going into turn one. Pol then finished the first lap in 4th and Brad in 6th which was very promising but then unfortunately our Spanish rider was unable to finish the race, which surely would have gone well. It’s a big shame for him, the team and the season. On the other hand Brad had a very challenging race, but he used his head and was very sensible. I told him on the grid to be smart and he certainly did. He fought with Iannone but eventually let him through as he was quicker and so Brad used him to keep a good rhythm. It was another top five finish which is great and it’s quite surprising that after 7 races, Brad is just one point behind Marc Marquez! Furthermore, we are still on par with the Repsol Team which is very positive. Next up is Assen, where hopefully both riders will see the chequered flag.” 

 

Smith to challenge Catalunya contest from 8th on the grid

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will start the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from the third row on the grid after speeding to 8th place in this afternoon’s qualifying practice 2. The 24 year old rider began the day by finishing the morning FP3 session in 10th place which enabled him to progress straight through to the final 15 minute shootout. Here, Smith dropped the hammer straight away and after undertaking a total of 7 laps around the Catalunya circuit, he met the chequered flag with a strong time of 1’41.068. This time was only half a second back from the pole position lap plus, the British rider set the fastest Yamaha speed with 339.9 km/h. Tomorrow he will look to launch off the grid and battle right behind the leading factory MotoGP bikes aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Pol Espargaro will begin his home Grand Prix from 11th on the grid after a tightly contested qualifying battle at Catalunya in which the top 16 riders were covered by a second. The young Spaniard commenced the day with a notable ride to 5th in the morning practice and when the all important qualifying session began in the afternoon, he leapt into action as he gunned for a top starting position in front of his home crowd. On his 6th lap he posted a time of 1’41.385 he attempted to improve further on the next lap, yet he unfortunately fell at the first corner. Nevertheless, Espargaro’s time was three tenths of a second quicker than his qualifying time from last year and when the lights go out tomorrow he will intend to climb through the pack to join the battle for the leading satellite bike position.

   
Bradley Smith
Postion : 8th Time : 1'41.068  Laps : 7

Bradley Smith - 2015"I’m happy with my qualifying position after the tricky weekend we have had so far. We have tried a lot of different solutions to solve the issues that we had yesterday but the changes that we expected to help, didn’t and the choices that we gambled with were the ones that finally worked. Therefore we found something for the qualifying which also meant that we were able to amend the rear grip issue and so I could set a good lap time. I’m pleased with 8th as I am on the third row, right next to Valentino and in front of Cal which is a solid place to begin the fight from. Furthermore, I am also excited to try the new setting in tomorrow’s warm up as I am keen to see how quick our pace is. For sure, it will be a long and challenging race but I am positive and now we just need to work on putting a good 25 laps together. It’s very easy to make a mistake at this track and we’ve seen a few riders lose the front so we need to study as much data as we can in order to prepare for it. Nevertheless, I am confident and ready for the battle tomorrow where I will be aiming to fight inside the top six again."

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro
Postion : 11th  Time : 1'41.385  Laps : 6

Pol Espargaro - 2015"Today was a day of two stories for me. In this morning’s free practice session I felt fine, I could ride comfortably and the setup of the bike was very positive after the small changes that we made yesterday. However, then our luck changed. The temperature increased quite sharply which caused the grip levels to drop and as a result we could not ride at the pace or rhythm that we wanted to. We need to take a look at the data in order to understand what happened and how we can fix this for the race tomorrow because even though the starting positions is not great, if we don’t fix this issue the race will be very tricky. In addition, we had some more bad luck as we got a defected rear tyre which has happened already before this year. This effectively caused me to lose my first set of laps but I remained out on track as I always tend to think that the second run will be better and there is a good chance of being able to improve. When I went in and changed the tyre, my feeling on the bike improved a lot and I scored my best time but I still lacked a bit of confidence after the first few laps. Then I pushed a bit too hard because the session was drawing to a close, hit a bump and crashed. This was a real shame as I could have cut another two or three tenths of a second and clinched a start on the row in front. However, this grid position means that I need to undertake a strong start and then battle from there. We will fight and do our best but it will be a challenging race."

Profil 

   

Home hero Espargaro confident after first day at Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro kick-started his home campaign in front of his passionate crowd by completing the opening day in 9th position in the combined standings. The 24 year old rider started his weekend by making the initial steps in setting up his Yamaha YZR-M1 for Sunday’s 25 lap sprint as he concluded the practice in 14th place. In FP2 the temperature increased and Espargaro continued his work whilst aiming to improve the setup of his bike. After undertaking 20 laps around the 4.7 kilometre circuit, he finished with a best time of 1’42.313 in the tightly contested opening day of action. Tomorrow he will intend to clinch a top grid position in the all-important qualifying session, for round 7 of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship in front of the ever-ecstatic Catalan crowd.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith concluded the opening shake down at the Catalan Grand Prix in 14th position in the combined standings. The young British rider began the day by making the first alterations to his MotoGP bike with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team and finished FP1 in 15th place. As soon as free practice 2 began, Smith got straight to work and continued his relentless efforts in getting prepared for the 25 lap battle on Sunday, whilst completing a total of 21 laps around the circuit. This was the highest number reached in the MotoGP field and the young rider met the chequered flag in 13th with a best lap of 1’42.645. He now aims to make additional adjustments for his race setup tomorrow in preparation for the Monster Energy sponsored Catalunya Grand Prix on Sunday.

   
Pol Espargaro
Postion : 9th  Time : 1'42.313  Laps : 38

Pol Espargaro - 2015 "Overall, I am pleased with how the day went as we performed a lot better than the time sheets indicate. We have the same handicap as usual whereby the MotoGP open class bikes with the soft tyres, are in front of us. Furthermore, the Ducati’s have a clear advantage as well on the long straight because of their engines. Yet, we still did a solid job as we are only just behind Lorenzo and in front of Rossi. The bike is working well at this track and although we still have some margin of improvement to make, we are doing our best in getting ready for Sunday which is the day it really counts. "

Profil  

   
Bradley Smith
Postion : 14th Time : 1'42.645  Laps : 42

Bradley Smith - 2015 "It was a slightly tricky opening to this round. This was due to the fact the track has a little less grip than in previous years, so we struggled a bit to get the optimum traction. However, we made a lot of setting changes in order to find a good direction to head towards tomorrow, which we now have, especially after I was able to check over both of the front and rear tyres today. At the end of the practice I focused more on getting a good rhythm with the soft tyre, instead of setting a hot lap time as I believe this compound will be the one for the race so I tried to remain in the 1’42’s consistently. Overall, I am pleased with the bike and now we just need to find a little bit of additional grip. If we achieve this, I believe we can have a strong showing and finish we were want to. "

Profil  

   

Espargaro and Smith primed for Catalunya battle

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro are geared up and ready for round 7 at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. Both riders will intend to clinch two strong results after concluding the Italian Grand Prix in positive style aboard their Yamaha YZR-M1's. The twisting 4.7 kilometre circuit has held many memorable MotoGP battles in recent years and Smith as well as Espargaro will aim to ride to glory in the satellite riders battle in front of the ever passionate Catalan crowd.

Bradley Smith produced his best performance so far this season by clinching a hard fought result of 5th at Mugello and will seek put himself in the mix for a top six placement in the 25 lap sprint around the Circuito de Catalunya. He currently sits in 6th in the championship and at the front of the satellite MotoGP riders and will look to continue his positive form by adding more points to his tally of 57. Furthermore, Pol Espargaro will be intending to speed to a top finish in front of his adoring home fans by battling with his teammate and challenging for the leading satellite bike position under the Catalan sun. The Spaniard determinedly bounced back from his recent arm surgery with an impressive showing in Mugello where he seized 6th and will look to go one step further at his home Grand Prix. 

   
Bradley Smith
  Championship : 6th  Points : 57

Bradley Smith - 2015"I will arrive at the Monster Energy sponsored Catalunya round confident of opening the weekend in positive style as we have been strong at almost every GP this season. It is a circuit that I enjoy with it's variety of different corners and the crowd is always amazing, especially in the last part of the track! In addition, the layout seems to suit the characteristics of the Yamaha YZR-M1 quite well, therefore, I'll be gunning for another top finish. In Mugello, the qualifying didn't go to plan so I aim to rectify this in Catalunya and grab a solid starting position to give me the best possible chance of success in the race. We also have a test on Monday where we will try out a few new ideas in order to help me in various areas as we look to bridge the gap to the leading riders. However, before that, there's the Catalan Grand Prix and my fists are clenched already for the battle on Sunday, which I can't wait to partake in. "

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro
  Championship : 8th  Points : 45

Pol Espargaro - 2015"Round 7 means it's time for my home Grand Prix and of course, this is one of the highlights of my season, especially as it's also sponsored by our title partner Monster Energy! To hear my fans cheering is an amazing feeling and I will do my very best to please them particularly as I grew up very close to this circuit, therefore it doesn't get any more of a home GP than this for me! Mugello was quite a positive race and most importantly a definite improvement after my recent arm surgery and so, I intend to do even better this weekend as I was able to start training again. I definitely have some good memories of racing at this track, like winning the Moto2 race from pole in 2013 which was the year I became champion and I aim to add another one to the collection this time. We also have a test after the race which will be very useful as we have a few things to adjust and amend, so I look forward to this week at home and I can't wait to get the show on the road! "

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"It's time to head to Catalunya and to Pol's backyard for the MotoGP race this weekend at the 7th round of the championship. It's always special for a rider at their home GP, but Pol grew up almost next to the track, so for him it must be amazing to be racing so close to where everything began. The Mugello weekend was very productive for our team as Bradley and Pol finished 5th and 6th which are two strong results. As a team we moved up to third position in the team championship standings which is fantastic at this point in the season and just in time for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. This run needs to be extended and we expect to close this weekend with two more positive finishes. Bradley continues to confirm his progress each race and with the Yamaha suiting the Catalunya track, we are confident that he will be able to run where he was at Mugello and fighting for the leading satellite position. As for Pol, it was a solid race from him in Italy, plus his arm has had two more weeks to recover, so we hope that he will be fighting with Brad for the lead position with the satellite bikes on Sunday. It's a great race and one with a superb crowd who really show their love for our sport. So, we aim to hit the track at speed to make them cheer even louder!” 

 

 

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