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Aragon MotoGP: Smith changes style, finds two seconds

'It's never nice when you're told that you're the problem but it's the truth. With the tweaks that they made today and the changes that I made we found two seconds' - Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith took a big leap forward as the Yamaha Tech 3 rider improved to eighth position in qualifying for the Aragon MotoGP.

The rookie ended Friday's free practice session in 13th position but was confident his place on the time sheets did not reflect his potential.

And Smith proved his theory today, shooting up the leaderboard to finish one place behind team-mate Cal Crutchlow after final qualifying.

Damp track conditions in FP3 after overnight rain prevented Smith from progressing automatically to Q2, but he dominated Q1 with a time of 1m 49.724s before slashing almost a second off his best time in Q2 on the M1 to secure eighth for tomorrow's race in Spain.

“The last two races have been pretty dismal, so it is great for me to be able to turn it around this weekend,” said Smith. “I said yesterday that I didn't feel 13th was a true reflection of my potential and thankfully I was able to show that was the case today.”

After a long meeting with his team, Smith changed his riding style on Saturday and the move paid dividends, providing a much improved feeling with the satellite Yamaha.

Smith's naturally aggressive style is a polar opposite to the smoothness with which Jorge Lorenzo rides the Yamaha and Smith was told he needed to adapt to the bike if he was to get improved performance.

Easing his transition under braking was one of the key areas and Smith spoke about how he is now approaching each corner with a different mentality.

"Last night we talked about my braking style and trying to keep the bike as smooth as possible," said Smith. "I've got a terrible habit of popping up from behind the screen and the way that you go down the gears is very important. The way you squeeze the brake lever is obviously very important and the Yamaha always like to be inline. If the bike is moving you're doing it wrong and we know that the bike will go straight from the data of the other riders so it means that you're doing it wrong.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Smith, Aragon MotoGP 2013
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Smith, British MotoGP race 2014
Smith, pulling in, British MotoGP Race 2014
Smith, British MotoGP Race 2014
Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Iannone and Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Smith, British MotoGP 2014
Smith, Silverstone MotoGP 2014
Redding and Smith, Silverstone MotoGP 2014
Smith, Silverstone MotoGP 2014

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September 28, 2013 7:56 PM

Who would have thought that the first year is about learning. What I've seen in a little over 30 years of bike tuning is that a change that makes the bike technically capable of going, say 0.1sec faster but makes the rider feel better on it will result in him going about 0.5sec faster.


September 29, 2013 4:29 AM

Hopefully next year on (supposedly) equal machinery to Pol, he'll be able to silence his critics. I've become fed up of all the armchair experts saying he shouldn't be on that bike. I think that Herve Poncheral may know talent when he sees it... He's had a very solid learning year and has taken everything in his stride - keep up the good work Bradders!

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