After a damp MotoGP debut at Valencia last November, new Monster Yamaha Tech 3 signing Bradley Smith will get his first full taste of the YZR-M1 during next week's Sepang test.
Forced to sit out the wet opening day at Valencia, triple grand prix winner Smith completed 43 laps on the final afternoon, the best of which was 2.2s from the top and 1.2s from fastest rookie Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda).
Rain is always a threat in Malaysia, but the searing heat means that the circuit soon dries and extensive track time is expected during the three-day test.
“For the last few years I would race to the computer to check the MotoGP lap times from the Sepang test, but this time it's pretty scary because I will posting my own lap times on the screen and not watching from home,” explained Smith, who flew to Malaysia last weekend to acclimatise with the heat and humidity.
“I'm both excited and more than a little bit nervous because this a big deal for me. From the first to the last minute of the three days I have to keep my brain switched on and do the business.
“I want to build a special relationship with the 2013 M1 Yamaha and the Tech 3 team right from the start. That means riding as many laps as possible and hopefully the rain staying away.
“I have so much to learn both from the bike and the team and they really whetted my appetite when I completed those few damp laps in Valencia last November. Since then I've been waiting for this day and it's at last arrived.
“This is the most important test of my life so far and I can't wait.”
Sepang will host two of the three pre-season tests, at the start and then end of February, followed by a final pre-race outing at Jerez in March.