Sixth fastest and just 0.4s from the top Yamaha gave Bradley Smith plenty of reason to be encouraged by after opening practice for the Americas MotoGP.

Speaking exclusively to after the session the Englishman, who claimed his first front row start at the Qatar season opener before falling while in contention for a debut podium, said:

"The feeling was quite good and I'm already faster than last year so obviously I'm more confident on this track and more confident on these tyres," said Smith.

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"I still probably need another session under my belt and a long run at the beginning of the session just to figure out the lines. It takes a while around here to make sure that you're on the right place at the right time but I'm happy with everything that I felt.

"There's a few things on the track that are different and I feel that the grip level is better but there's a lot more bumps and obviously the wind was catching me out in some places but overall I'm very pleased with the first session.

"We are as competitive, compared to the other Yamahas, as we were in Qatar so we've got to continue on that."

In the afternoon session the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider is looking to try longer stints and evaluate the 2014 harder spec tyre - Bridgestone having reverted to the 2013 spec for the Austin medium compound.

"I don't expect too much of a difference, but maybe with this temperature it's good and we could try the harder tyre. I'm looking forward to trying it and fingers crossed that will work on the Yamaha because that's the 2014 spec tyre.

"I'm interested to try that but in general I really can't be too disgruntled because the bike already feels good. It's good to know that we can it from Qatar and bring it here and it's already working so now it's just a case of fine tuning everything."