Bradley Smith ended the opening day of the Italian MotoGP tenth fastest, but the Englishman was pleased to have made progress with his engineers to improve the handling of his Tech3 Yamaha.

Smith, who has struggled in the recent Spanish and French Grand Prix, decided to use a different frame this weekend having suffered three crashes in those recent races and some setup changes have improved the balance of his bike.

When asked about his performances in recent races the Englishman said:

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"Looking at the crashes that I've had this year and the reasons for them there was nothing positive with what we were doing. The crashes that I had were a cold tyre in the Qatar test and I highsided. In Qatar practice I tried something different with the swingarm length. I hadn't done anything with the front of that made me think [that I could crash] and then I had three with the Jerez race and test and then Le Mans. So I thought that it was time to do something about it."

At Mugello changing the weight balance of the bike and the suspension geometry seems to have unlocked the potential of the Yamaha once again with Smith pleased to have gained a much better understanding of the bike today:

"Today was good. We moved my body position on the bike. I've had problems with rear grip so we basically created a way of moving me backwards on the bike. We've taken all the spacers off so that I can move back on the bike and forwards. It means that I have to do a bit more work on the bike but it means that we've got more grip.

"Here it's a high grip racetrack but it seems like it's working and straight away we had to change the geometry of the bike to be more towards the other Yamahas. As soon as we changed it to like the other Yamahas I had a front end that I could ride with so it was a good first day.

"The big thing was that I got four runs and we made steps and understood it when we made changes. It wasn't like Le Mans where we made changes and I couldn't tell the difference. Here it was back to how it should be rather than making a change and thinking that we were scratching the surface.

"It was very clear on the data what was good and what wasn't and we tried bike one and bike two so that meant that we could make a big change with something and then jump on the bike and test it."


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I'll wait for Sunday before actually passing judgment here. Friday has not quite translated to frontrunning pace so far for him.