Bradley Smith says a 'different approach' to qualifying for the Australian MotoGP paid dividends as he ended the session a fine fourth on the grid, just 0.014secs slower than second place Cal Crutchlow.

His best starting position since the Czech Republic Grand Prix in August, Smith insists he came into qualifying eyeing a spot on the outside of a row so he can challenge into the first turn, with fourth proving the ideal result.

"I am really pleased to be fourth today even though a front row start would have been a nice bonus," he said. "Initially, I had hoped to qualify on the outside of one of the rows so that I could attack the first corner, so to clinch fourth is great and I am convinced that I can have a strong race tomorrow."

Related Articles

The catalyst for Smith's performance was a deliberate decision to approach the session in a slightly different manner to the rest of the field after spots of rain during Q1 offered an additional challenge.

With this in mind, whilst his rivals completed two flying laps on the first stint Smith, stayed out for four laps in an effort to learn more about the conditions and where he could push in different sectors.

"At the beginning I decided to do four laps on my first tyre just to check the conditions plus loosen up a bit and then after pitting, I set my quickest time on the first lap on the new tyre. The times were really close, but we achieved what we aimed for and it's great to know that I went faster today than last year on a track where conditions were completely different, plus this year's pole position was half a second slower than 2013's.

"Nevertheless, I know that the race will be a long and challenging one and it will be very important to look after the tyre as it already starts to move after just a third of the race distance, but I will give it my all to bring home a firm result."