In his latest blog for Crash.net, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 MotoGP rookie Bradley Smith looks back on the first half of the 2013 season and the news that his team-mate Cal Crutchlow will be switching to Ducati...
I'm rested, relaxed and more than ready to get back on the M1 Yamaha at Indianapolis to start the second half of the season. Mind you, while I've been enjoying the delights of Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Los Angelis there has been plenty going on to keep my brain ticking over.
Good luck to my team-mate Cal Crutchlow at Ducati next year, not that he will need it and welcome Pol Espargaro to the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team. Cal really deserves a factory bike and having watched him from close quarters this year I can tell you if anybody can make that Ducati work it's him.
He is so motivated in everything he does and the word 'no' is just not in his vocabulary. He has been rewarded with a factory ride because of what he's achieved this year on the Yamaha and he's been a great example and inspiration for me to focus on.
While all this has been going on I've kept my head down and concentrating totally on learning to ride a MotoGP bike. It was hard at Laguna when every question from the media was about if I was going to stay at Tech 3 next season. I know the team are really pleased with what we have already achieved together and I believe I've more than met everybody's expectations.
However, sometimes circumstances are beyond your control and MotoGP is no different to all other big international sports. If I'd lost my place I would have been pretty pissed off but then would have got my head up and moved on.
It didn't happen and so we can all fully concentrate on what lies ahead. It's such an exciting time for me and the team as we push on from what we learned in that first half of the season. It's a tough run with three back-to-back races starting at Indy, where that blast up the main straight between those massive grandstands on a MotoGP bike should be something special.
During the break I also had time to reflect a bit more of the first half of my rookie season. I've surprised myself with what I'm able to achieve and what I was able to do which is nice because I set my expectations very high. I keep them personally to myself but I have exceeded them in those first nine races.
Looking back to crashing out of that first race in Qatar after four laps to what we were able to achieve in the Sachsenring was something I never expected. To have qualified on the second row of grid already and to consistently finish in front of the factory Ducatis is a great feeling. It may be expected of me to achieve these goals but it has not been easy to do and now we must achieve the same level of progress in the second half of the season.