25 June 2015
MotoGP Assen: Smith: Tyre fail cost me chance of top ten
'The last tyre never came in and it felt like an old hard tyre – it wasn't terrible but it didn't feel like a new soft, which was a bit frustrating' - Bradley Smith.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith felt he missed the chance for a fast lap in FP2 after the soft tyre he fitted failed to perform at Assen.
Smith ended the day in 13th place on the time sheets with a time of 1m 34.627s as he finished 1.1 seconds off the top lap set by Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.
The British rider said it was a frustrating end to the opening day as his aim was to secure himself in the top ten in case wet weather materialises at the Dutch track on Friday.
“It was a shame the last tyre that I threw in for a lap time didn't work. This morning was really good and this afternoon I had some good pace on the hard tyre, although there were a few things I would like to improve,” Smith said.
“The last tyre never came in and it felt like an old hard tyre – it wasn't terrible but it didn't feel like a new soft, which was a bit frustrating, especially with uncertain weather tomorrow.
“I wanted to secure myself inside the top ten today and had looked on for it all day, so from that point of view it was annoying.”
Smith has been working on improving his M1 with a full fuel load in the opening six or seven laps of a race and revealed his team has made some progress with the issue, albeit at the cost of 'a couple of trade-offs'.
“It's not going to be massive steps but whatever we have done we have improved. When you improve something you lose in other areas and there are a couple of trade-offs that I am trying to get back to what I'm used to, but it doesn't feel terrible at the moment. We just need to tidy up the rest of the little details,” he said.
“My lap time was quite good on the hard rear, I did a 34.8 and my rhythm was quite consistent. There are a few things that you can do to load the tyre a little bit better and it is still a potential option for race day so we have to take it seriously.
“I want to get some time tomorrow to do a bit more work on the hard tyre to get a real understanding if it can be a good tyre for the race.
“I think the other riders will improve as the weekend goes on, as always, but this track in general seems to favour the Yamaha style. The other guys did one lap and then kind of faded away again,” he added.
“We need to be strong on Saturday and take advantage of that.”
Asked for his thoughts on how long it will be before Honda comes up with an answer to the problems faced by Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa this season, Smith said that while he expects HRC to find solutions, he is confident Yamaha will also improve in the second part of the season.
“Honda will bring something but at the moment I'm quite confident that we will get a few more races. The fact that Honda can't test is a blessing because if they could then we'd all be in trouble,” he said.
“Right now, until Marc and Dani sort themselves out, then it won't filter down. I'm expecting a harder battle from them in the second part of the season but also in the second half of the season is when the Yamaha also seems to work a bit better and finish the season strong.
“Yamaha are also working on new parts right now – they're bringing some new chassis and working on new ideas for the factory team and if those are better, then we can get the older ones and that will help us as well.”
Smith has tested a new exhaust system but opted to retain the older version, preferring its less noisy characteristics.
“I tried it but it didn't make enough of a difference to me to want to use it – it was just a lot more noisy! I like the bike to be a bit more quiet like it's been for the past two years and it wasn't helping me with any performance,” said Smith, who admitted he was unaware Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were set to receive a new chassis update for their factory M1s.
“I didn't even know they had anything new until it was in the press from Aragon. There really isn't any information fed from them to us and I don't know what they are trying to achieve with it.”
With the threat of rain hanging over Assen this weekend, Smith is keeping his fingers crossed that dry weather prevails, with the British rider yet to get completely comfortable on the Yamaha in the wet.
“I've never had a great feeling with the M1 in the rain so I wouldn't be over-excited if the heavens opened,” he said.
“We have to ride in any conditions and in case we are going to ride in the rain on Saturday I'd like to get a bit of an outing tomorrow.
“I rode a little bit in the rain at Sepang and improved a few things there and again in Austin.”
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