Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith completed the final preseason run out today with encouraging performances which leave them confident for the approaching first race of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar.

Pol Espargaro brought his test campaign to a positive close as he carried on his thorough work with the electronics as well as the Michelin tyres. In addition, the Spaniard was also one of the few riders to undertake a full race simulation today and ultimately, he cut 0.865 from his fastest lap from day one, which was just over half a second from 2nd overall. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith dug deep as he completed a mammoth 62 laps, whilst continuing in making alterations to his Yamaha YZR-M1. The end result saw the confident Briton finish just 0.084 behind his teammate, leaving him optimistic of his ambitions to complete the opening Grand Prix inside the top 8.

Pol Espargaro


Position : 11th - Time : 1'55.882 - Laps : 113


Pol Espargaro - 2016"I am really satisfied with what we achieved today, even though of course, there is still margin of improvement that we can make. After the issues that we had in Malaysia where we didn’t know which direction to head towards and where we were struggling with the electronics, I wasn’t really optimistic. In Phillip Island we were able to improve and I ended the test in the top ten which is very important because it is where we need to be. Here, we were still not particularly strong on a single lap, but the most important thing is that I was one of the few riders who ran a race simulation and our rhythm was very strong. We were also able to finalise our tyre choice and the tyre that I used was good. In fact, we rode 2 laps more than race distance. The only inconvenience of the simulation was the interruption because of the red flag. However, when I pitted, we didn’t touch the bike at all and when I went out again, I was able to improve my time. Actually, I rode my fastest lap after having covered the full distance, which is something that I was never able to do with Bridgestone tyres, but with Michelin, I can. Therefore, I feel very comfortable and I am excited to start the season here in Qatar. Honestly, I expect the qualifying to be tricky for us, but on Sunday I am sure we will be able to do great things."

Profil

Bradley Smith


Position : 13th- Time : 1'55.966 - Laps : 114


Bradley Smith - 2016"We closed the test positively today, but all in all the pre season 2016 has been quite different compared to other years. It’s been an interesting process where we’ve had to get used to the new tyres, as well as to judge their evolution because we’ve had some different front and rear tyre specs to evaluate. I must say that learning to adapt the bike to these different compounds has been a challenge. Some parts of the pre season have also been frustrating for me because of the time the weather took from us in Australia, and also the tyre situation a bit here in Qatar and as a result, we weren’t able to extract the maximum from the available testing time. Nevertheless, we are within touching distance of our target, which I think will be inside the top 8 this year. I still believe that we have a bike that’s only at 90% so there’s room to improve and we are always getting closer. Yet, going into the start of the season, I’m confident that we can do a good job. This evening’s test was positive as I improved my time quite a lot and we had consistent pace. Also, I was able to go out and ride quickly immediately which is something that I was struggling with on these tyres but I figured that one out today. I’m excited to complete the testing and finally get into racing mode as the competition brings out a bit of extra pressure which some people like and some don’t. For me, I like to be put under pressure and I feel I perform better in that way, so roll on the start of the season and FP1 in a few weeks’ time.”

Profil 

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith pushed on and continued their preseason work in the penultimate day of testing in Qatar. The pair carried on refining their Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes in preparation for the all important 2016 season opener, where they aim to battle for the leading satellite position.

Pol Espargaro stepped his efforts up today and produced a lap that was over half a second quicker than his personal best from yesterday, whilst the overall top time was not lowered significantly. This was despite suffering with a crash at turn 15 that fortunately did not injure him, yet his progress today leaves him confident of advancing further tomorrow. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith wisely decided to preserve his tyres for the final session, where he will attack at full speed. His time of 1’56.517 from yesterday leaves him in 14th in the combined standings and tomorrow he aims to close his preseason campaign strongly.

Pol Espargaro


Position : 11th - Time : 1'56.173 - Laps : 73


Pol Espargaro - 2016"We are improving step by step every day, but the main thing is, I’m ok after the crash. It was a front-end crash like we had at Phillip Island and we were testing a new, different compound. It was an option to try, but maybe I pushed too hard. However, we can say that it’s not the compound that we like the most or one that we want to use at the race weekend here. I felt that we had chatter and movement, like some other riders. Yet, the other tyre is not so bad. I did 26 laps with it, which is more than a race distance and the rhythm was consistent plus, I felt comfortable. Apart from that, everything is ok and we worked on my lines, the rhythm and with the electronics. Every time we run, we learn a bit more about the electronics and we are trying new things all the time. In addition, we focused on the tyres quite a lot but we still need to get more rear grip. At first, I thought the dirty track may have been behind the lack of grip, but that’s not the case, so we need to improve in this area, which will be our main target for tomorrow and we may run a race simulation as well. Yet, as a whole, we are improving and moving forward."

Profil

Bradley Smith


Position : 14th - Time : 1'56.517 - Laps : 52


Bradley Smith - 2016"It goes without saying that today has been a little bit frustrating. We found ourselves in a position where we don’t have a lot of tyres available to us that work with my riding style and my bike. At the start of the session, we began with used tyres from yesterday just to see their character after having been heated up twice and I have to admit that I felt quite comfortable, but this was our first run. Later on the second stint, I wanted to try some new tyres so we put a slightly harder compound on with a new rear. In all honesty, I found it really tricky to ride close to a solid lap time. So, after pitting and assessing the situation as well as listening to other riders’ feedback, I decided that the best thing to do was to save our good tyres for tomorrow and put our efforts in then. The plan is to do around 60 laps and we’ll have to focus all of our energy into getting the maximum from the final session. Anyway, the general feeling that I had with the bike in the first run was positive, so we’re not far away from where we want to be. After some work tomorrow and hopefully a race simulation, we’ll be ready for the first GP of the year.”

Profil

 

 

Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro kicked off the last pre season test with two encouraging performances under the floodlights on day one in Qatar. Both riders aimed to build on the knowledge gained in Phillip Island and make some further preparation steps for the forthcoming season, with the highly anticipated season opener only 18 days away.

Bradley Smith concluded the day with a solid run to 9th position, as he examined tyre options and re-evaluated wheelbase settings. The British star waited until the mid point of the session to start but then set his personal best on his 23rd lap, which left him just six tenths of a second back from third marking a positive opening. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro got up to speed in the desert as he positively adjusted his Yamaha YZR-M1 to the Losail track. After gaining confidence, the Spaniard powered to his fastest time on his 34th lap, that left a deficit of only two tenths to his teammate. Tomorrow, Espargaro will continue his work as he determinedly intends to climb the standings.

Bradley Smith


Position : 9th - Time : 1'56.517 - Laps : 38


Bradley Smith - 2016"The opening to the test was positive here and to be honest, I think we undertook a really smart plan. I decided to wait until the track cleaned up a bit because I was conscious of using the tyres to their full potential. In the previous tests, I rode a lot of laps in the first two days which meant that on the last one, I didn’t have many tyres left. As a result, I decided to change my strategy here and so I just used two sets today with the track conditions being how they were. Nevertheless, we were able to confirm some wheelbase options between bike one and two, and the good thing is that the setting that we found in Sepang and Phillip Island is working well here. Now that we have triple checked this factor, I am confident that we have a solid wheelbase setting which is really important for me, because we still had some questions after Phillip Island. In addition, today we compared two of the rear tyres, with one of these being in the allocation for the race weekend. We already have a clear indication of what we need to do with the race weekend tyre, which is a bit stiffer than the other one, plus we know the setting changes that we have to make to suit it. Furthermore, the front tyre that I tried in Phillip Island is available here in more quantity. I liked that compound, it has a wider profile and I’m keen to keep working on that as I just had access to one in Australia. So all in all, I feel comfortable and confident here in Qatar, it’s a track that I have always liked and I seem to ride well at. It’s nice to be here with my shoulder at 90% after the injury at Phillip Island but after ten days of physiotherapy and rehab, I’m already almost there.”

Profil 

Pol Espargaro


Position : 12th Time : 1'56.747 - Laps : 43


Pol Espargaro - 2016"Instead of it being a real first test day, today was actually about getting in touch with the track, the tyres and the electronics here in Qatar and it definitely wasn't easy. At the beginning of the session, the track was very dirty and I ran with the softer tyre option, which I felt confident with straight away. However, when we changed to the harder compound afterwards, my feeling just wasn’t the same. This tyre was supposed to suit the track better, but we ended up struggling more. In addition, quite a few other riders crashed so I didn't want to take any unnecessary risks. Therefore, we still have some work ahead of us, but we already understand the direction that we want to head towards tomorrow and I'm convinced that this will allow us to progress further up the field."

Profil

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