Bradley Smith has vowed to grab the opportunity to close the gap to the leading factory MotoGP title contenders this season 'with both hands'.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was encouraged by his performance in the Valencia test last November following the final round of the championship, when he ended the shakedown only three tenths of a second behind new world champion Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda.

Referring to the test Smith, who made his MotoGP debut in 2013, said: "If that is already the starting level, then we have got to take the opportunity with both hands and see where we can end up.

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"The Factory team is always going to develop and improve - you have to understand that - but Yamaha really do look after the satellite riders.

"With both Pol [Espargaro] and I being young riders coming through, I think we will get really good support so I'm quite excited."

Assessing the threat the new 'Open' machines will pose to the satellite riders this season, Smith predicts a front row start for the FTR-Yamaha and expects qualifying to be much more keenly contested.

"I think qualifying is going to be a lot closer," he told the official MotoGP website. "We are going to see a couple of upsets in qualifying where, with the faster engines and maybe on a really grippy track, we will see a front row [from the Open bikes]; from the FTR-Yamaha, I am quite certain we will see a front row.

"Aleix and Colin [Espargaro and Edwards, NGM Mobile Forward Racing] are going to have more power and more fuel, so they can open that thing wide open for their qualifying laps.

"I don't know their spec, but they can produce more power because over a race distance they have more fuel. Yamaha will give them good stuff, absolutely."

Smith notched three sixth place finishes in his rookie season on the M1 in Catalunya, Germany and Australia on his way to tenth position overall in the standings.