10 July 2015
MotoGP Germany: Smith riding high after day one promise
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider ends Friday second fastest and top satellite rider behind Marc Marquez at Sachsenring.
Bradley Smith reflected on an impressive day one at the German MotoGP that saw the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider end FP2 second fastest behind Marc Marquez.
Smith's fastest lap of 1m 27.740s was only 0.119s down on the Repsol Honda rider's benchmark at the Sachsenring as the Briton easily concluded free practice as the leading satellite rider.
He posted a flying lap after following Ducati's Andrea Iannone, who slotted into third on the factory GP15.
“A good first day. I did a long run at the beginning and found a good rhythm and consistency so I'm happy,” Smith said.
“I was fastest in Sectors 1 and 3. Sector 3 was somewhere where I struggled a lot last year so we been working on a few different lines and engine braking settings to try and help that. Sector 1 is good because it means I found a good balance for braking.
“It was good and bad that I got to follow [Andrea] Iannone because he held me up in some places but also in other places he was quite strong so it gives me a good idea of where we need to improve tomorrow, especially in the last corner,” he added.
“He was able to gain 0.1-0.2, which is quite a big gap around here.”
Smith has underlined the importance of a strong qualifying at the German track on Saturday, where overtaking is limited.
“It's hard to pass anyone here even if they are 0.3 slower. You're behind them and you don't really know where that 0.3 is. The only time you can really pass is if it's 0.7 difference,” he said.
“It's a difficult track and that's why qualifying is so important here. I'm not sure the soft tyre will be such a difference here because there was no spectacular difference when I was behind Iannone.
“So I think we'll be okay, also because the Suzuki wasn't as fast as I thought it was going to be with the soft today,” added Smith.
“But I did a '21.7 and Marc did a '20.9 last year, so there's still 0.8 on the track and I'll have to find at least 0.4 for tomorrow.”
Smith is seeking an improvement in stability in the hard braking areas on the M1 but concedes that he has to accept a trade-off, with his Yamaha set up with the emphasis on the slower corners.
“We still need to find a little bit of stability in the hard braking because I've set up the bike a little bit more for the slower speed corners, especially sector 3,” he said.
“It's strange that I'm fastest in the first sector because I don't necessarily feel that good there and then, like I said, I need to improve the last corner and when you come down the hill of the 'Waterfall', braking into those corners.
“It's a compromise because those are the only places where you're really braking hard and you have a big compression where the track goes flat,” added Smith.
“It's a trade that we need to find and it's a case of now trying three or four ideas, rather than one big idea, because you don't want to lose what we have in the other places.”
Along with Smith, Cal Crutchlow and Scott Redding, Northern Ireland brothers Eugene Laverty and Michael Laverty are also on the MotoGP grid this weekend – with British Superbike rider Michael replacing Marco Melandri in the Aprilia team – while Sam Lowes is making his mark in the Moto2 class and Danny Kent and John McPhee are impressing in Moto3.
Smith says it was inevitable that a growing number of UK riders would progress to the premier class.
“It's great obviously to see. I think it was inevitable by looking at World Superbike and how much talent was coming through that avenue - through British Supersport, British Superbike, World Supersport, World Superbike,” he said.
“It was inevitable that at some point it would come across. The fact that Cal and Ben Spies came across actually opened the window for a lot of people to get that opportunity and it's kept that pathway clear because we've had at least one guy come from World Superbike each year and performance isn't that bad from them.
“I expect, especially looking at Johnny Rea, that avenue to be kept open. Also with Van Der Mark as a young, up-and-coming Dutchman.
“To me, nationality I don't really care, it's another bike out there. But it shows from the ground level what Stuart Higgs and BSB have done and continue to do,” he added.
“Even through hard times, he's still kept that championship there and a good filter of talent coming through. It's a credit to him really.”
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