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Bradley Smith has a blast at Sepang
5 February 2013
MotoGP rookie Bradley Smith was all smiles after day one of 2013 testing at Sepang, when the Briton felt the full power of his Monster Yamaha M1 for the first time.
Smith had experienced just half a day of dry track time on his MotoGP debut, at the 'cramped' Valencia circuit last November.
The Englishman has been made to wait nearly three months to get a proper day of testing under his belt, but it was worth the wait.
“It was really good fun, really good!” grinned Smith as he prepared to leave the circuit.
“It makes you appreciate what MotoGP is all about here, because the size of the track allows you to really open it up. You feel more power than Valencia.”
The former 125cc grand prix winner clocked 56 Tuesday laps, the best of which was good enough for twelfth fastest out of the 28 riders.
Smith's best lap was 2.3s behind pace setter Dani Pedrosa and 1.5s from Tech 3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow, but Smith has barely touched the set-up.
“We kept it really simple today. Just go out and ride as much as I can. We'll start to make some small plans tomorrow, but really these three days are just about gaining confidence, understanding the Yamaha and Bridgestone tyres.
“You have to have a lot of trust and faith in these bikes as they are so advanced.
“It's completely different to anything I've ever ridden, but there is no pressure on me. Every time I've gone out I've had fun and every time I've improved. So all in all it's been a good day one.
“Myself and Randy [Mamola, manager and 500cc legend] went to look at turn one where I was losing time by trying to be too aggressive.
“I'm also looking at the data to try and improve my riding style, getting off the brake a little earlier and carry a bit more speed around the corner. Reverting back to a more 125 style.
“Just trying to get my head around this MotoGP bike because it's crazy! The grip that you have, the power that you have and all the electronics – it's like a puzzle and we're putting it together bit by bit, but we still have a long way to go.”
Fellow rookie and Smith's former 125 and Moto2 rival Marc Marquez mentioned that he currently feels more comfortable on old tyres since it is hard to know the limit with new tyres, a sentiment Smith agrees with.
“Exactly. The Bridgestone's are so good that I felt more confident when the tyres are old, 20-25 laps, because I could understand what they were doing. When they are brand new the limit is so far ahead it is crazy.
“The limit is so far ahead of where I'm riding that I just have to catch up. I think it is going to take at least two days and also the Sepang II test just for me to catch up.
“The M1 is such a good package - and also Andrea [Dovizioso] created such a good package for me to start to ride - that it is just about me doing laps and trying to catch up.
“I didn't really touch anything on the bike today. The guys did a little bit here and there for front suspension, but electronic and setting wise we didn't touch it.
have to ride it at the moment.
have to trust it and
have to get the best out of the package. At the moment I am a long way from that, but it's been good fun trying.”
On the physical challenge, Smith joked: “I'll be sore tomorrow and after three days I'll be walking like John Wayne, but MotoGP is so much fun it's not a problem!”
Dovizioso - who has moved to Ducati - Smith's fellow rookie Andrea Iannone and the second Pramac Ducati of Ben Spies (recovering from surgery) were the three manufacturer riders behind Smith on the Tuesday timesheets.
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