2015 - Malaysia - Sepang

Smith delivers superb performance to clinch 4th at Sepang

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith conquered the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand prix with a superbly calculated run to 4th position in today’s round 17 battle. The 24 year old got straight to work as soon as the race kicked into gear in the searing heat at Sepang as he leapt forward from the third row of the grid. The Briton muscled his way around the 5.5 kilometre circuit on the opening lap which he finished in 10th and he remained confident of ascending through the field. By lap 4, Smith had already passed three riders and found himself in 7th position. His pace continued to increase and just before the midpoint of the race, the Briton was in 6th and homing in on Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. He chipped away and brilliantly shot past Crutchlow on the 11th lap, clinching 4th as well as the lead of the satellite bike battle. Smith then pulled clear of the pursuing rider and stretched out in front. He comfortably carried on his rhythm before finishing the GP in this position, after having opened up a gap of 4.726 seconds over Crutchlow by the time the chequered flag fell. The strong result marks a positive close in the challenging conditions for the young British rider and sees his points tally rise to 171 in the MotoGP standings where he currently sits in 6th, with one round left to race in the 2015 World Championship.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro produced a brave and relentless effort as he rode through the pain to finish in 9th in the gruelling Sepang Grand Prix. The young Spaniard started the 20 lap battle from the fourth row, despite experiencing huge discomfort in his cervical spine after falling due to a collision with Barberá in the morning warm up. Yet, an X-ray confirmed that there was no fracture and Espargaro was given the all clear to race. However, the 24 year old remained fully focused and determined to clinch a solid result when the lights flicked off. Espargaro undertook a strong start and picked his way through the field to finish the opening lap in 7th, having moved up four places from his grid placement. He immediately stuck into his race pace as he sought to remain with the leading group, yet slipped back one place by the start of the fourth lap. Espargaro remained in this position but as the end of the GP inched closer, he became engaged in the fight for 6th with three other riders. However, his heroic effort saw him eventually cross the finish line in 9th despite riding with the injury. He now looks towards the season finale at Valencia in two weeks, where he will aim to close the year positively with a strong result.

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 4th Championship : 6th Points : 171

Bradley Smith - 2015

“Obviously, finishing this race in 4th position is a fantastic result, especially after such a challenging weekend. Going from 14th at the end of day one to 4th today highlights the great effort by the team and I must thank them for this. In all honesty, we really struggled in the last few days, but we just kept on trying to improve step by step. Things eventually looked good in warm up and I was able to follow a few riders, plus we made another positive change on our Yamaha for the race. Therefore I felt confident, because I knew that I had a good rhythm and I would be able to remain consistent in my lap times. In addition, I know how to ride with old tyres here. When the lights finally went out, I got a good start, but then I lost a bit of time in the second corner. However, I was able to pass Stefan Bradl quite quickly and then I tried to keep the gap to Cal and Dovizioso the same because I believed that at one point in the race, I could close in on them. Therefore, I also tried to look after my tyres the best that I could. It was unfortunate for Dovizioso because he had that incident with Cal, which is a shame because it would have been good to fight with him. Yet, after that, I was able to catch Cal and then I pushed as hard as possible in the last 7 laps to open up a gap. It is amazing to get 13 points as we have now extended the points lead over Dovizioso for 6th position in the championship. So we definitely have something to celebrate and we can go home with a smile on our faces after a positive three weeks.”

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 9th

Championship : 10th Points : 103

Pol Espargaro - 2015“I must admit that today’s race was one of the hardest that I have ever had to ride. During the warm up this morning, Barberá crashed into me and I hurt my neck badly. As a result, I had to get it checked before the race so I went to the hospital and to the Clinica Mobile. I have to thank all of the staff, because they worked really hard to make sure that I was in the best possible condition, although in all honesty, I wasn’t feeling great at all. I knew that it was going to be a hard race and sure enough, it was. I experienced a lot of pain and sometimes I even felt dizzy, but I gave it my 100% and tried my best to get to the chequered flag. Obviously, how I felt riding the bike as well as the setting and everything else was less important, as I was just fighting and counting down the laps. Yet, looking back, I think I could have clinched a good result bearing in mind how the race progressed and how my pace was in the practice this morning. Anyway, now I will have my neck checked again in Barcelona and after that, I will try to be as fit as possible for Valencia."

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

“I am very happy and proud of both of our guys and what a great way to end the weekend in Malaysia. Bradley had an amazing race and brilliantly overcame the tricky weekend that he was experiencing. It was clear to see that he had been struggling every day and the fact that he went through QP1 highlighted the fact that we were far from where we were supposed to be. Fortunately Brad had a much better feeling in the warm up and when the race began, he had a good start as usual. We knew that physically he was really fit, plus able to cope with the heat and this is exactly what he did as he posted consistent times lap after lap which meant that he moved through the field. He had a fight with Cal, who made a slight mistake which allowed Bradley to open a gap and then he stretched ahead and even closed in on Valentino a little bit. So overall, we are more than happy with his 4th place. I would also like to commend Pol and thank him for trying as hard as he did. We knew that he had a crash in this morning’s warm up due to colliding with Barberá. This caused him to injure his vertebrae and it was touch and go as to whether he would be fit for the race. Yet, once he got going, he pushed as hard as he could and in the end he got some good championship points. All in all, the outcome of the third flyaway round was very positive, so hopefully we can repeat a similar performance in Valencia.”

 

 

Smith to lunge forward from the third row at Sepang

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will kick start his mission to finish as the leading satellite MotoGP bike in the penultimate round of the 2015 MotoGP season tomorrow from the third row of the grid. The Briton leapt on board his Yamaha YZR-M1 as the day began and quickly resumed his setup work with the team in FP3, whilst determined to lower his lap time further. Yet, the 24 year old finally completed the shootout in 12th, just over two tenths from the top ten, which meant that he would have to compete in Q1. Nevertheless, Smith remained resolute and met the opening qualifying 1 confident of progressing to the final practice. After rapidly getting up to speed, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider powered to a lap of 2’00.765 which saw him finish in second and able to comfortably pass through to QP2. When the session commenced, Smith went back out on track with a strong grid position his sole target. The Briton consistently improved and after powering onwards, he sped to a top time of 2’00.652 on his final lap out of seven which saw him clinch 9th position. For tomorrow’s race, Smith aims to fight through the field and end what will be a challenging Grand Prix at the front of the satellite MotoGP bike battle.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro will begin the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix from the fourth row of the grid and confidently seeks to fight his way to a top result aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Spaniard charged forward from the word go as soon as FP3 started and he continued his setup work in preparation for the race. After undertaking a total of 17 laps, Espargaro’s best time of 2’00.709 saw him finish in 10th and able to pass directly through to the QP2 session. Here, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion keenly began his qualifying quest as he sought to seize a solid grid position for the 20 lap sprint. As the clock counted down, Espargaro laid down a lap of 2’00.794 on his 5th but carried on his pace as he aimed to move further up the grid. However, despite his best efforts, this lap was his best as the session drew to a close and saw him only 0.142 from his teammate. The 24 year old now fully intends to undertake a rocket start and then he will then seek to charge through the field in order to fight as close as possible to the factory MotoGP bikes in the 17th round battle tomorrow."

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 9th Time : 2'00.652 Laps : 7

Bradley Smith - 2015

“I have to say that today as a whole went much better than yesterday and the end result is quite satisfying. The team worked really hard last night to give me a good bike that I felt much more confident with, so we have to say that we definitely made some significant steps forward as we found the best direction to head towards for this circuit. Of course, running in QP1 was never part of the plan, but actually I am pleased that I did as it gave us a bit more time to make some final adjustments before Qualifying 2. In terms of lap times, we partly closed the gap to the Factory Yamaha riders which is a real positive. The pole time was very quick today and for sure, it was out of reach for me, yet when we compare our best lap to the other riders on the same bike, we were close enough. The most significant aspect about today’s result is that I will start on the same row of the grid as Dovizioso, who is my championship rival which means that I have a good chance of passing him on the run down to the turn one. We need to work a bit more on my rhythm in warm up, but I am confident about the race now as we definitely went in the right direction today. With a good start tomorrow, I am confident that I can get back into a position I want to be in and I will fight as much as possible in the 20 lap battle.”

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 12th

Time : 2'00.794 Laps : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015“It was a disappointing qualifying session and even though we didn’t expect to be in the fight for the pole position, I felt that after FP4, we could have been a bit faster. However, our strategy as well as my feeling on the bike were not the best and the fact that I was only a few tenths faster than in FP3, shows that our potential was higher compared to what we achieved. Moreover, it was quite frustrating to ride my last lap behind Valentino and Ianonne, because I realised that there was a big difference between my bike and theirs, mainly in terms of power and acceleration. It's really difficult to handle and also to accept as my ambitions are much higher than where we are at the moment, so I feel really frustrated. Anyway, we need to be positive and I can definitely say that we made a step forward at the end of FP3. Also later on in FP4, when we evaluated some different settings, I believe that we found something which increased my level of performance. With regards to tomorrow, I honestly don't know what to expect. It will clearly be a really demanding race because we are experiencing one of the hardest conditions of my GP career but I will, of course, give my 100 percent."

Profil 

   

 

Preparations begin for the Tech3 pair at day 1 in Malaysia

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro produced a resolute effort on the first day of practice at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix and battled to 13th overall. When the opening 45 minute morning session commenced, Espargaro threw his leg over his Yamaha YZR-M1 as he aimed to complete the first run at Sepang solidly. With a positive test having been achieved before the dawn of the season, the Spaniard started by experimenting with various aspects of the bike in order to make it more competitive in low grip conditions. He concluded a total of 18 laps around the circuit whilst testing the key areas in the opening shakedown and finished in 13th, yet he looked set to make a step up in the afternoon. Here, his hard work continued with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team as he tirelessly pushed onwards and he completed free practice 2 with a best time of 2’01.850 which he set on his last lap. This time was an improvement of 0.409 from his opening gambit and the Spaniard now aims to progress with his efforts tomorrow in FP3 ahead of the all important qualifying campaign.

On the opposite side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith started his Malaysian campaign with a firm display at the penultimate round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship as he ended the opening day in 14th overall. When the fight commenced, Smith leapt onto his Yamaha YZR-M1 and he began to alter the base setup of his MotoGP bike to suit the challenging 5.5 kilometre circuit. The British rider finished the practice in 15th, yet he remained confident of improving in the afternoon. There, he launched straight back into his groove as he aimed to lower his lap time and make advances in preparation for Sunday’s main event. During the practice, Smith completed 19 laps, the highest number of any MotoGP rider and his personal best time of 2’02.101 which he set on his 7th lap, left him in 14th in the combined standings. After a challenging day, the 24 year old now sets his sights on seeing out his qualifying campaign with a strong performance tomorrow ahead of the 17th round battle on Sunday.

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 13th

Time : 2'01.850 Laps : 34

Pol Espargaro - 2015“For sure, we didn't start the weekend in the way that we wanted to, but it goes without saying that today was the best time to try different settings. We already knew that the opening day is not usually our strongest point during an event as we struggle a lot with the lower grip level. Therefore, we decided to invest some time and alter several aspects of the bike in order to improve, particularly in these kind of conditions. So, we collected a lot of information today and we will now analyse which direction we need to head towards. Anyway, we are confident that, just like in Phillip Island, the situation will improve as soon as the track gets a bit more grip and then, we will be able to reduce the gap to the front guys. So now we'll work hard in order to be ready to bounce back strongly during tomorrow's practice sessions."

Profil 

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 14th Time : 2'02.101 Laps : 37

Bradley Smith - 2015

“It’s good to be back at Sepang which is a track that I enjoy riding at, but I must admit that today was quite a struggle and to be completely honest, we have some work to do. As soon as I started this morning, my confidence and feeling wasn’t quite the same as usual with the bike and it’s difficult to understand why after the positive test that we had here in February. At the moment, we are unfortunately stuck inside the 2’02 bracket, which of course, is not where we want or need to be. However, a positive is that we are not just struggling with one specific factor but we need to improve the bike as a whole which means it is easier to find some solutions. Anyway, towards the end of the second free practice session, we were able to improve slightly, yet there is plenty of work to do tomorrow still. Overall, we tried a lot of different settings today in order to identify which direction to head towards and now we will have an in depth look at the data and then see what we can do. It was a tricky start today, but for sure, tomorrow we will be stronger.”

Profil 

   

 

Confidence high as Tech3 duo head to Sepang for final flyaway contest

  • Written by Axel Raynal
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The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pairing of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro jet to Malaysia primed and ready to fight at the Sepang International Circuit for the penultimate round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. The final stage of the triple consecutive flyaway races will occur at the world famous 5.5 kilometre circuit that is located 50 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur. The track features a wide variety of turns with 5 left corners and 10 right as well as a straight of 920 metres in what is a truly demanding test for all MotoGP riders.

Bradley Smith will look to bounce back from a hard-fought 10th place finish at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix with a top six result at Sepang, the circuit where he rode very competitively during the pre season winter tests. The 24 year old currently sits in 6th in the World Championship, holding the position of the leading satellite rider and will aim to speed to a strong finish in the 20 lap sprint to boost his tally further. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro will be gunning for a notable performance at Sepang to conclude the flyaway races with a positive outcome before heading to the season finale in his home country at Valencia. Last year, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion suffered a huge crash in qualifying and broke the second metatarsal bone in his left foot, but he brilliantly persevered and eventually completed the race in 6th. This weekend, the Spaniard will intend to ride to glory in Malaysia whilst trying to battle as close as possible with the factory bikes.

   
Bradley Smith
  Championship : 6th Points : 158

Bradley Smith - 2015

“I’m excited to be racing at Sepang this weekend and I am certain that we can finish with a notable result. We had a really strong winter test there at the beginning of the season which bodes well for this weekend. At that time, we tried a lot of different settings and I am very confident that we’ll have a strong base setup to start with on Friday which will kick things off in a positive manner. Of course, we know it’s a physical circuit and the temperature will be very high along with the humidity. This, of course, makes it even more demanding and additionally, the track is usually quite greasy at this time of the year and much more than when we test here in the winter. Our target will be to concentrate a lot on the afternoon sessions in order to get the best setting for those types of conditions, which is how it will be at race time on Sunday. Therefore, it will be important to run some good lap times and be as consistent as possible. After the difficult GP at Phillip Island, I am looking forward to the Grand Prix at Sepang where I am sure that I will be competitive and inside the top six on Sunday afternoon.”

Profil  

   
Pol Espargaro

 

Championship : 10th Points : 96

Pol Espargaro - 2015 “Malaysia is our next destination and I am fully confident of closing the last of the three flyaway races with a strong result on Sunday. The weekend in Australia was a bit challenging, yet we managed to turn around the difficult start with a run to 8th in the race. Of course, I wanted to finish much higher in the GP at my favourite circuit, but my feeling with the bike improved a lot over the weekend and also, everyone could see how competitive it was there, so we have to be pleased. Now, it’s time for Sepang and because we tested a lot there in winter, I am feeling confident as we have a solid base setting to begin with. Last year was tough because of the big crash I had on Saturday, but I still finished in 6th. In addition, I have had some strong results there in the past, as I have had three podiums in the lower classes. Moreover, the track is good fun to ride, plus it really tests us as MotoGP riders with it’s big mix of corners. It will be demanding due to the humidity, but I will give 110% to finish the last two races of the 2015 season, which has been a bit an up and down one for me, in strong positions."

Profil  

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

“Next up for us is the race at the Sepang International Circuit, a track that has a great reputation and is one of the most technical, yet exciting places that we go to. The weekend in Australia was a bit challenging for our riders, but they did their best and this time around we expect them both to be fighting for the leading satellite position. Bradley did a solid job at Phillip Island and still holds his record for finishing every Grand Prix inside the top ten this season, so for sure this is something to be proud of. He tested well in the pre season and is confident of scoring strongly in the race, so we know that he can fight for a top six. Meanwhile, Pol is fired up and ready for the fight in Malaysia and we know he will give his all, as he always does, and battle as close as possible to the factory bikes. He showed some amazing determination last year when he finished in 6th despite breaking a bone in his left foot after a terrifying crash. This was very impressive and at the moment he is fully fit so we know he can be right up there with his teammate, if not ahead of him.”

 

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