Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith produced his best qualifying result since Brno in August as the British rider qualified in seventh position for the Malaysian MotoGP.

The series rookie showed good pace in FP4 and carried that momentum into Q2, lapping in 2m 01.306s to head up row three.

Smith, who was only 0.3s away from Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista on the second row, said: "Today was the first opportunity to see how much I have improved compared to the tests I did here in February.

Related Articles

"Qualifying was the first time all weekend when I ran low fuel and new tyres like we did in testing and I am happy with the performance to finish seventh. The conditions were not ideal at all and it was a bit sketchy at turn six and seven after the rain showers.

"The team though did a great job and I've done some longer runs to check tyre life and I'm happy in that area. We have also improved my feeling with a full fuel load, so hopefully I can have a strong race."

Smith isn't making any rash predictions ahead of tomorrow's race at Sepang but the 22-year-old is targeting a strong start in a bid to make a break with the leading group.

"It will be hard to fight for the top six but my aim will be to get a good start and go with the leading group in the early stages to try and learn as much as possible," he said.

"A big plus this weekend has been that we have improved in every session and made good progress with the bike set-up, so I've got more confidence for the race than normal."