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MotoGP Q&A - Bradley Smith

An exclusive interview with Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith after qualifying tenth for Sunday's French MotoGP at Le Mans...
Crash.net:
That seemed like a tough day for you Bradley, finishing tenth?

Bradley Smith:
Yeah, it certainly wasn't easy. It's a big frustration from my point of view because I had a bike underneath me, or at least I had the potential for a bike, to be on the front row today. Pol showed what he could do but we didn't improve our rear grip today and we just went round and round in circles. We found some interesting things today but nothing to give us drive. I've got way more spin than the other Yamaha riders and I'm just sat there smoking my tyre so it's frustrating.

Crash.net:
Two tenths from the front row but it's eight places. What are you looking for tomorrow to move up the field. Is it just finding that rear grip?

Bradley Smith:
The good thing is that we're two tenths away even with the problems that we have. That's a positive but it's also a negative. It bugs me that I knew that a top six qualifying was so important here and that it was within reach, without doubt, but we didn't do it because we didn't do a good enough job. The points are tomorrow though and it's going to be a long, hard race and I've got to be ready to give it my best.

Crash.net:
Did the rise in temperature today play a role in changing the balance of the bike and adding to the wheelspin?

Bradley Smith:
I went 0.9s quicker than yesterday and this is the issue that we come up against where we go half a second quicker than yesterday in FP3 and then again in qualifying. Of course we've improved the bike but just not enough to go into the 32's. We needed a 1m 32s lap today and I said to the guys that we needed to find something. We tried, we threw in a completely new link for qualifying to try and find something.

We're finding the right direction but it's always too late. We seem to be ahead of the game but then we get caught up and passed in the wrong moment. We need to speed up our improvement progress, in my opinion, otherwise we'll get caught napping and it will make my life very different on Sunday's because when you're starting 10th instead of front row it's a different race.

Crash.net:
Is making that improvement something that comes from you or something that comes from you and your crew working together better?

Bradley Smith:
It's a little bit of everything. I don't know if my feedback is good enough and maybe I don't direct the team in the right way but I've been complaining about the same thing over and over again and we haven't improved it. From that point of view, when you're complaining about the same thing and not improving, it means that we're not finding a solution but it's a team effort. I wouldn't have been able to do a 33.0s without them.

It's frustrating when it's only two and a half tenths, if it was a second I'd probably say that we didn't have the pace today. It's frustrating because I knew that we had the pace today and I've looked at the data all day long and it's in the drive area out of corners. I'm losing five or six kmp/h on the straights and that's free time because you don't have to do anything other than tuck in and open the throttle. I can't do that because my bike is spinning but the good thing is that I know there's laptime out there and I'm ready for a race tomorrow.

Crash.net:
As far as tyres are concerned for tomorrow can you run the soft tyre?

Bradley Smith:
Yeah, the soft is easy to do the distance. It will be difficult because the temperature will go up but absolutely it won't be an issue to run the soft. The fact that it'll spin a lot tomorrow means that it's even more important to find the setup for the race because we're going to need that grip tomorrow for drive. You want to be alongside these guys into the braking point and that's what we're working for.

Crash.net:
Looking at yourself and Pol are you able to take much from his data considering his style is quite different to yours?

Bradley Smith:
We're very different but when I compared the data in most areas I was faster, which is even more frustrating. He had really good rear grip and drive grip today and we'll just have to put that into my bike tomorrow and hopefully it'll transfer across. That's the great thing about having a fast teammate and one that's on the front row. Hopefully that'll help tomorrow.

Crash.net:
Have you noticed a change in yourself this year? Last year you could rely on Cal to an extent whereas this year you're the veteran and the one that's been here before. You're riding looks very different this year, you're more aggressive on the bike compared to last year.

Bradley Smith:
I feel confident and I know what I have underneath me and I'm trying to put the bike where I want it and ride it in the right way. I know what the bike needs and that makes me a little bit more difficult to work with, I would say, because I know when we're in the right area and I know when we're in the wrong area. That's supposed to help as well though because it means that I can give direction to the engineers. At the end of the day I'm 1.2s quicker than last year here and it's not enough, I needed 1.5s.

Crash.net:
Looking back to 2007 you had your first podium here at Le Mans, is it a track that suits your style?

Bradley Smith:
Yeah absolutely and that makes it again more frustrating because I knew that it was a key track for us. Straight away yesterday afternoon I felt happy. It's a place that I know how to make the bike go around here and I'll just have to show that tomorrow in the race. I need to get up underneath people more and then make some passes. We're still not out of this and there's still 27 laps between the start and the end and I've no doubt that we can be mixing it. Right now we're on the back foot but I'm up for the challenge.


Tagged as: Yamaha , Smith

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ProfessorX

May 21, 2014 3:49 AM

Best of luck to Bradley, with all the tools and data available for those bikes, you would think the team would have a clue as to why Pol's tires were hooking up better than Bradley's. Wonder how that mu learning is working these days on the M1s.



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