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MotoGP Malaysia: Smith happy in the dry, 'slow' in the wet

"To be honest this morning didn't look very good but I just missed the one-off lap" - Bradley Smith.
Bradley Smith struggled on the opening day at Sepang, the Englishman twelfth fastest in the dry and just 17th in the wet.

Smith admitted to struggling in the wet afternoon conditions, but was quietly pleased with his morning's work where instead of focusing on a fast time he worked on being able to maintain tyre life in the sweltering Malaysian heat.

"To be honest this morning didn't look very good but I just missed the one-off lap and I didn't go out of the pits and nail the lap in the first five laps which is what you had to do here," commented the Englishman, who took his first MotoGP podium last Sunday in Australia.

"I slowly got faster during the session and was super consistent. We tried some things with the electronics to try and keep the tyre life longer for the race rather that just dropping off and I seemed to be able to that and keep consistent tyre temperature which will be key if we have a dry race on Sunday. I've done fast laps around here so I was just working on that [race pace]."

In the wet however Smith is still struggling for confidence on the Yamaha. Having been off the pace in wet conditions at both Assen and Aragon earlier this year there was no improvement today. However some setup changes gave him hope of finding improvements. Of the four Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo, who was fastest, was comfortably quicker than the other trio of riders:

"This afternoon I can't hide that, we were slow! But I said to the team and to Yamaha that we were slow in Assen in the rain and we were slow in Aragon in the rain so it's not a surprise. Today we threw some ideas at it and gave ourselves some direction but we're all in the same area with me, Pol and Valentino all within half a second of each other. Jorge has got something else so the easiest thing might be to try what he's running tomorrow."

With conditions for Sunday's race expected to mimic today's weather, a downpour just before FP2, the challenge for teams will be to manage the conditions and adapt for a flag-to-flag race.

Timing when to change bikes is always key in these races, however at Malaysia it can be luck of the draw that dictates the result with sudden downpours leaving the track flooded in a matter of minutes.

Being able to dive into the pits to change bikes immediately will likely be the only tactic for riders as Smith explains:

"It certainly gives us a lot of help and it's something that we can analyse on Saturday night to make a plan for Sunday. The lap is very long here and it rains very hard so it's almost not worth the risk to go a lap longer if it starts to rain so you just come straight into the pits.

"It's so difficult here because this track won't be as clear cut as Aragon because of the amount of rain that can come down. It won't be a case like Aragon where it spits with rain for a little bit here it will be a heavy downpour so today is more a case of getting a rain setup rather than something for a flag to flag."

Tagged as: Yamaha , Smith

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October 25, 2014 12:27 AM

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