MotoGP rookie Bradley Smith has grown in confidence following an impressive performance at Sepang.
Smith was eighth fastest overall on his Tech 3 Yamaha M1, finishing ahead of Nicky Hayden
and Andrea Dovizioso
on the factory Ducati machines.
His best lap on the final day of the test in 2m 02.93s put him within two seconds of Dani Pedrosa's benchmark on the factory Repsol Honda and a second outside the top six.
The 22-year-old's fastest lap overall was set on Wednesday in 2m 01.931s and Smith has described the first pre-season shakedown of 2013 as 'mission accomplished'.
“I am really happy with the way this test has gone and my lap times and final position have already given me a lot of confidence.
“I didn't come here with any expectations but to be eighth is where this bike needs to be,” he said.
“I am still not getting all of the potential out of the YZR-M1 but I am gaining in confidence with every lap I complete and it has been mission accomplished in terms of coming here and understanding how the bike needs to be ridden.
“I still need to be a lot smoother but I am happy to be within two seconds of the fastest time.
“I knew that was possible but the hard work starts now to close that gap even more.”
Smith also completed a full race simulation to improve his experience of the bike and found the challenge of riding a MotoGP
machine over race distance in the hot and humid conditions 'seriously hard work'.
“The race simulation was amazing to build up my experience but it was seriously hard work.
“It was the hottest day and it is very physically and mentally demanding to ride a MotoGP
bike at that pace over a long distance,” said Smith.
“It is hard to concentrate but the best thing was on the last lap I did a 2.02.9 and my best lap was a 2.02.5.
“So I was consistent and while I need to be faster, I'm really happy to be leaving this test having learned so much.
“I need a good sleep now to digest all the information I've taken on but already I can't wait to be back on the bike here later this month.”