2015 - USA - Austin

Smith stars in Texas to finish as top satellite MotoGP rider

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Bradley Smith produced a memorable ride at the Circuit Of The Americas to claim the honours of being the top satellite rider by seizing 6th place in Texas. The 21 lap race start was delayed due to a spillage caused by a bridge near turn three which caused water to leak on to the track. However, once the surface conditions were resolved, the race began at 14:37 local time. The young British rider leapt off the starting grid from 10th and his impressive start saw him tenaciously cruise around the outside of the pack to jump up to 4th after the first corner, expertly overtaking six riders from the start. Smith remained resolute and set a series of highly competitive and consistent lap times as he remained right in the hunt with the leading pack in 4th place. At the mid point, the Briton was running in 6th with his determination intact and his tireless performance saw him keep the pursuing rider at bay to brilliantly cross the line as the top satellite MotoGP rider and only 10.557 behind the leader. With two rounds complete, Smith is 6th in the championship standings with 18 points as he optimistically looks ahead to the next round, confident of a further strong finish.

Meanwhile Pol Espargaro’s promising weekend where he hoped to challenge his teammate as the leading satellite bike was cruelly cut short after falling on the first lap at turn 11 due to Scott Redding crashing into him. The 23 year old started the day competitively in 5th during a wet warm up session with high hopes of riding to a top finish in the race. Nevertheless, the young Spaniard will remain focused and will look to make amends by clinching a top result in Argentina next week. 

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 6th Championship : 6th Points : 18

Bradley Smith - 2015"It was a great race and I am pleased with the result. It began with a strong start and to jump from 10th up to 4th was pretty awesome. The risk I took to go around the outside of the pack at turn one paid off. I have been studying previous races and saw how other riders got pinched on the inside, so I decided to gamble and go around the outside. After that, I was running comfortably with the leaders for the first five laps, but when Marc went past Andrea I was just missing that extra bit of pace. At one point in the race, I was concentrating so much on staying with the group in front that I forgot to alter the traction control map and so I overheated the tyre and as a result, I lost some pace. Anyway, I am pleased with the outcome and to finish in 6th place, as the top satellite and only 10 seconds is definitely one of my best performances in my MotoGP career. Now I look ahead to Argentina and although I struggled a bit last year, with the new M1 and Bridgestone tyres, we should be competitive. It’s a Yamaha track so we need to try and continue this positive momentum from the first two races so far. "

Profil

Pol Espargaro
Position : DNF  Championship : 12th  Points : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015"Of course, I am disappointed as we definitely didn’t deserve this result. It was a tricky weekend but we were always inside the top seven and although qualifying unfortunately didn’t go to plan, I was confident of a good result. This was despite starting from the third row, which didn’t make it any easier. Regarding the incident, sadly there are still riders who think that they can win the race on the first lap even though there are 20 more to ride. It’s ridiculous but we can’t do anything about it now so we will continue working, yet we can’t hide our disappointment. Today could have been a good day but it turned out to be a disaster by something that wasn’t in our hands. I will now focus on Argentina next week where I intend to score a top finish."

Profil

 

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"As the team manager, I can’t be completely happy about today’s result, because when you lose one of your two riders, it’s never a great feeling. Having said that, we are so happy with what Brad achieved. Yesterday he had a technical issue in qualifying which prevented him from showing his true potential. Yet, he remained confident and had an incredible start, but even though his starts are often good, I think this was one of the best of his MotoGP career. The most exciting thing is that Brad managed to stay with the factory guys and he was with Vale for more than half of the race distance which was very impressive plus he will have learnt a lot. Furthermore, it took a long time for Jorge to catch and then pass him, so our target is to always to be as close as possible to the factory riders which is our benchmark and Brad accomplished this today. We finished with the smallest gap to the leader that we have had in quite a long time and we also completed the race in front of Cal which is another one of our missions. We know that Pol would have been very fast here and it would have been brilliant to see this. Of course, he will be disappointed, but sometimes these things happen in races, however we are pleased with his progress so far and we will keep on working. He is good enough to be near the top group therefore we expect him to be back in that position at the next race. We were the best satellite bike, Brad is 6th in the championship and we are fourth in the team standings, so just like the weather today, everything is good! We hope to have two top riders next week in Argentina and we will see you there." 

 

Espargaro and Smith confident and prepared for COTA race

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Pol Espargaro will commence his second Americas Grand Prix on the Yamaha YZR-M1 from the rear of the third row after undertaking a thorough qualifying effort today in Texas. The young Spaniard opened his Saturday account positively by finishing in 6th position in FP3, with a lap of 2’03.773. This performance saw him elevate instantly through to Q2 as the weather threatened rain which then failed to fall. Once the qualifying practice began, Espargaro launched into action and undertook 7 laps before setting a 2’03.161 on his last. Impressively, this time was a massive improvement of over seven tenths of a second from last year’s qualifying. After a positive weekend so far, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider will be seeking to battle to a strong result in tomorrow’s 21 lap dash in America.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Bradley Smith will start round 2 of the MotoGP World Championship one place behind his teammate in 10th. The 23 year old began his day with a bright sprint to 5th position in FP3 with a top time of 2’03.666 which was a mere two hundredths of a second back from 3rd place. This left the British star confident of a successful Q2 campaign, yet unfortunately he experienced a technical issue on his MotoGP bike at the start of the session which forced him to make a pit stop and then change to his second Yamaha which was equipped with a used front tyre. Despite this, Smith pushed onwards before finishing with a best lap of 2’03.440. Tomorrow he will attempt to replicate his performance of last year at the Circuit Of The Americas, where he finished in 5th and as the leading Yamaha.

   
Pol Espargaro
Position : 9th Time : 2'03.161  Laps :7

Pol Espargaro - 2015"To be honest I am not at all satisfied with our qualifying result as we managed to solve all of the issues that we faced this morning and the bike was good. However, I made a mistake on my fast lap and ran straight on. After that, I was able to improve my lap time but the tyre wasn't fresh anymore and that unfortunately makes a huge difference at this track. I have nobody to blame as it was my own fault, but for sure starting from the back of the third row won't make things any easier tomorrow. Nevertheless we must remain confident as the race is long and also the weather forecast is not clear as of yet."

Profil

 

Bradley Smith
Position : 10th Time : 2'03.440  Laps : 6

Bradley Smith - 2015"It goes without saying that I’m disappointed to finish today in 10th. We had some technical troubles during FP4 and we couldn't fix them in time for QP 2. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to stop to change the bike, which is far from ideal in a 15 minute session on such a long circuit. Furthermore, we didn’t have time to swap the front tyre on the second bike, so I did my laps with a used one. It was a session where nothing went our way, so it’s disappointing to start from the fourth row. However, we have had the pace all weekend and I remain upbeat as our race pace is consistent, so now we just need to adjust the bike a little in warm up and then we will be ready. The race is a long one here but I feel comfortable with the bike plus I am confident of making some good overtakes at the beginning so I am still optimistic that we can have a competitive race tomorrow."

Profil

 

Espargaro and Smith start COTA battle positively in mixed conditions

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Pol Espargaro kick-started his round 2 campaign at the Circuit Of The Americas by delivering a solid performance to finish in 7th overall on the opening day in Texas. The first practice began in difficult circumstances with a heavy downfall of rain as well as a red flag causing disruptions to the practice. Nevertheless, Espargaro powered onwards and completed FP1 in 7th place with a best time of 2’20.983. The weather improved in the afternoon, which permitted the riders to revert to slick tyres and the 2014 rookie of the year continued to push as he set up his Yamaha YZR-M1 for the 21 lap sprint on Sunday. The end of the session saw Espargaro meet the chequered flag in 7th with a best time of 2’05.840 and a performance that saw him under three tenths back from 4th. The young Spaniard’s effort today leaves him optimistic of improving his pace in tomorrow’s free practice session before the all-important qualifying.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith battled throughout the day as he attempted to assert himself as the leading satellite rider in Texas. The 23 year old completed the first session of practice in 6th position in wet conditions at the Circuit Of The Americas and was confident of progressing in the afternoon. In FP2 the young Briton set a best lap time of 2’06.134, yet unfortunately suffered a fall in the following lap which prevented any chance of climbing up the rankings. Despite this, Smith completed the day in 10th position with his time being only three tenths behind his teammate. Tomorrow the British rider will intend to bounce back and have a competitive qualifying session aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1 in view to Sunday’s race.  

   
Pol Espargaro
Position : 7th Time : 2'05.840  Laps :12

Pol Espargaro - 2015"Overall, today was quite a positive start to the weekend and I am pleased with what we managed to achieve in the tricky conditions. This morning we had probably our first ever fully wet session in the MotoGP class and I’m happy to say that the feelings I had on the bike were really good. The only thing that was missing was a quick lap at the end of the session unfortunately, but I felt comfortable and my time was not so bad. In the dry, we decided to go with our base setting and I didn’t return to the pit box at all, so nothing was changed. For sure, there are many things which can be improved, but now we will look at the data and hopefully tomorrow the weather conditions will improve so that I will be able to as well. Altogether, the first day was good so I am looking forward to getting back out on the track."

Profil

 

Bradley Smith
Position : 10th Time : 2'06.134  Laps : 7

Bradley Smith - 2015"Of course, it was a big shame to crash at the end of FP2 but it was the first fall of 2015, so we had to expect it at some point. At the time, I was running with a set up that was for the mixed weather conditions and there was a lot of extra stress uphill on the front, so I hit the limit in turn one and unfortunately fell. However, as soon as we have started running here, in both the wet and dry conditions, we have been fast. I feel good and everything is positive so far, plus it's great that the base setup is once again working well straight away, as it underlines the good job we have done prior to the season. I hope for clearer weather tomorrow as it’s been tough for all of the riders to deal with the conditions today. At the moment we are in the top ten which is the main thing plus we are close to the factory riders, so all in all, it was not a bad day."

Profil

 

Smith and Espargaro head stateside ready for COTA thriller

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Fresh from competing in the intense season opener a fortnight ago, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team duo Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith head to the Circuit of the America's prepared for round two of the 2015 MotoGP world Championship this weekend. The anti clockwise 5.5 kilometre long Texan circuit impressively has nearly 41 metres of elevation change on the pit straight and will host its third MotoGP race since its introduction to the calendar in 2013.

Having finished in 5th position in last year's GP in Texas, Bradley Smith heads to the south west optimistic and confident of being able to follow up his hard fought 8th place finish at Qatar where he was a blink of an eye behind the fastest satellite bike. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro will be looking to produce another determined performance and clinch a top result in front of the enthusiastic American fans having enjoyed his first visit to the track on the Yamaha YZR-M1 last year, where he finished in 6th position.

   
Bradley Smith
  Championship : 8th  Points : 8

Bradley Smith - 2015"'Now it's time to head across the Atlantic to Texas which is a special race and certainly an event that everyone looks forward to, so I can't wait to jump on the Yamaha and get going. I like the track with its good mixture of tight and meandering corners plus the big climb on the pit straight is awesome to experience! I scored a good result here last year in which I finished in 5th as well as being the leading Yamaha, plus after the good start to the season which we had in Qatar, I'm feeling confident. To complete the Qatar race only half a second back from Cal was encouraging, albeit a little annoying as I was so close to being the fastest satellite MotoGP rider. Nevertheless, I'm optimistic that we will be fighting in that position again on Sunday and I am ready to hit Texas at full speed."

Profil

Pol Espargaro
  Championship : 9th  Points : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015"I am very excited to be heading back to America to race at the Circuit Of The America's which is an incredible track and really good fun to ride. Last year I had quite a good run in the race where I finished in 6th position. However, it's plain to see how much more competitive the MotoGP field is this year and the last race in Qatar where everything was so close was the first example of this. We had a few issues there, but we did our best to recover and ended up in 9th. However, this time we've got to hit the ground running so that we can make the most of the available practice time to get a strong setup for the race on Sunday. I am positive and remain convinced that we can have a better weekend this time and challenge to be the leading satellite bike, but it will be no easy task. Still, the crowd is always brilliant in Texas and their support will spur me on."

Profil

 

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"The season is well and truly underway and next up is the always entertaining race at the fantastic Circuit Of The America's. The facilities are superb and the track can hold up to 120,000 fans so we hope to see many of them this weekend. My expectations for the race on Sunday remain similar to what we hoped for and also achieved in Qatar. Everybody can see how tight the field is this year and the entire grid is much closer together now and super competitive. This is great for the fans although it makes things a bit more difficult for us. Nevertheless, both guys did a really good job last time and for them to finish just thirteen seconds back from the leader was impressive. Therefore, we expect a similar result here in the 21 lap sprint, especially after the strong finishes that both of them had last year." 

 

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