Bradley Smith was settling into his groove by the close of FP2 at Motegi to leave the British rider feeling he is moving in the right direction ahead of Saturday's final practice and qualifying sessions.

Smith was eighth fastest at the Japanese track, setting a best lap in 1m 46.105s as he finished the day only 0.064s behind team-mate Pol Espargaro.

The young English rider made a significant improvement from the morning session after closing FP1 in 14th place and 'took a big step forward' during his final run in the afternoon.

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"I am happy with today's final outcome even if it was tricky at the start, but we found a good setting which gave us a solid direction to work towards," said Smith.

"My final run was a big step forward plus I was lapping with consistent times at the end so although we have some work to do to refine this setting further, I am pleased with the job we have done."

Smith feels the softer compound tyre option available to the Open class and Ducati riders is proving particularly beneficial at Motegi and has emphasised the need to continue improving on Saturday.

"It is a technical track and it appears as though the softer compound of tyres it is giving the Ducati's and the open class riders an advantage, so it's vital that we progress with our hard work in order to get into the top ten and go straight into Q2," he said.

"Moreover I think it will be crucial to get a perfect run in qualifying as some other riders are close and will certainly be in the hunt. Considering the tough start, the end result is positive and we will confidently continue to push onwards tomorrow."