By Stephen English

Bradley Smith was pleased with his efforts in qualifying at Laguna Seca, where the MotoGP rookie claimed ninth on the grid with a best lap 0.6s from the fastest Yamaha of Valentino Rossi.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Smith now intends to study the data from the other M1 competitors to understand where he can find more time ahead of the 32-lap grand prix.

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"I'm happy with the performance, but I've a lot to learn from Jorge, Cal and Valentino this evening to find out where that 0.6s is."

Smith added: "Today didn't go too badly. It was one of those days where I was happy with my lap time and then I come back into the box and see everyone else has jumped up.

"A 1m 21.4s seems to be the Yamaha lap time and I did a 22.0s, with an ideal of a 21.8s, but we made a big step from FP4 to Qualifying and we definitely found a good direction with the front-end for tomorrow so that's a real positive. But 32 laps around here will be pretty tough."

The former 125cc race winner has claimed a MotoGP best of sixth in two out of the last three races and expects to be in the fight for double-digit points again on Sunday.

"I'll be aggressive into turn one and the opening laps and then I'll try and follow. I think that if I can up my game by even two tenths tomorrow that I've got a good chance to learn from the guys in sixth and seventh."