In the latest of his 2013 blogs for Crash.net, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 MotoGP rookie Bradley Smith looks back on Sunday's Spanish MotoGP at Jerez…
Where do I start? The race in Jerez, moving house, the bills or the extreme new haircut. It's been that couple of weeks since flying back from Texas. So let's start with the Spanish Grand Prix.
The more and more I ride in MotoGP the more I realise that you have to listen to what your bike is saying. In the cooler morning warm-up it was allowing me ride around one minute 40s but in the hotter conditions in the race it clearly told me to ride in the one minute 42s.
It's like a game of chess in the end, try not making mistakes and staying in the hunt and attack when the guys in front start slowing up. Both Pirro and Espargaro where going backwards at the finish and I thought it was time to pounce and take ninth but it was finally tenth.
I was 50 seconds behind the winner in Texas and 44s seconds down in Jerez. I'm not over the moon with that distance, but it shows progression and we are getting better and better even if it miniscule.
We are not going backwards but I would have liked a better performance at a track I know. It shows in the slippery conditions like Jerez I'm still a rookie, still learning about different scenarios in different conditions. I have to accept it's part of the learning curve. The carbon disc brakes are a prime example.
It's amazing how the brakes work. With steel discs you squeeze it from the very beginning and then you hammer it on and the stopping is constant. On the MotoGP bike with carbon discs when you first grab the lever it does not seem to work and then all of a sudden bang and it really grips up. You have to get stronger in your arms and make sure you keep your body weight back.
Suddenly you able to use almost the same braking distances and stop on a MotoGP bike with speeds of 210mph as I did on a Moto2 bike with a top speed of around 170 mph. It's amazing feeling that has taken time to get used too. You have to learn to use them at the right point when the bike is stable.
You feel like you want to go over the handlebars all the time. At the braking point I have to lock my arms as straight as I can possibly get them. Also I've started gripping the tank with my knees and forced myself to stay backwards to keep me further back. After three races I've still not figured it out 100 per cent but we are getting there which is a good thing with Le Mans next on the schedule.