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MotoGP Catalunya: Smith ‘turns bike on its head’ for eighth

Bradley Smith described himself as 'chuffed' with his final qualifying position after turning his M1 'on its head to make it work'
Bradley Smith was 'chuffed' with his afternoon work in Barcelona as he put his Tech 3 Yamaha in the middle of the third row of the grid.

The 24-year old admitted things began to look 'dismal' in FP4, when he finished the session in just 16th place. However, a 'radical' setting change for qualifying allowed him to lap just 0.01s slower than Valentino Rossi in Q2.

“I'm actually quite chuffed with my day,” said Smith. “What was a looking a little bit dismal and a little bit all weekend, I managed to turn it around. Last little roll of the dice. A setting change for qualifying seemed to help us out a little bit. We've been making logical changes all weekend and not getting anywhere so we went illogical and it seemed to work.

“For some reason this track it seems to be suffering. We've really had to base it in all year for the first six races and at this round we have to turn it on its head to make it work. Not completely, but a lot more radical than we have done at the racetracks.

“But what needs must and I believe that we're starting to get there. It's a bit late but we still have the warm-up to check a few things. Third row makes it a little bit easier. Good start tomorrow and then see what my pace can be.

"Right now it looks potentially like the Ducatis and the Suzukis will run the super soft, which means they're going to be super strong for a certain part of the race and then we just have to see if they drop off. If they don't drop off they'll beat us and if they do then we've got to be close enough to take advantage of that.”

As team-mate Pol Espargaro took to the track on Saturday morning with a new slash-style exhaust, Smith confirmed he tested the same part on Friday morning. However, it wasn't to his taste.

“It was really noisy so I didn't like it. [There wasn't] enough [difference] for me to want to keep it. Basically riding the bike I want to be able to hear myself think and I can't with that one.

“From lap time-wise it wasn't changing anything so I went more with what I prefer. And also I listen to the bike quite a lot, listen for traction control and tones of the engine, and it was so completely different it was actually confusing me. So I had to take it off.”

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