Bradley Smith made the trip to Misano earlier than usual ahead of this weekend's San Marino MotoGP, in order to ride at Valentino Rossi's moto ranch.

Rossi's home in Tavullia is just 20 minutes from the Misano circuit and the world championship leader regularly invites fellow competitors to join him for some dirt track training.

"I went to Valentino's Ranch. It's the third time I've been. Great fun. I really enjoy it," said Smith, speaking in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 hospitality on Thursday afternoon.

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"I actually had my own [dirt] bike coming and originally I was supposed to ride that on Saturday and again on Tuesday, but I couldn't get it here in time. So I rode one of Valentino's spare bikes.

"I love it. To be able to go there and train with everybody. There was me, Vale, Baldassarri, Pasini, de Angelis, Antonelli, Sanchini - Sanchini was funny - and a couple of other guys as well. It was a good turnout. It's so much fun. It's like dreamland for me!"

"The track has left and right corners," added Smith, who has an extensive Motocross background. "It's like a road race track on dirt. I think that's more transferable [to MotoGP] than just having an oval track.

"Nicky [Hayden] is doing a similar thing at his house as well. It's exactly what you need, but not all of us have the space to build it! For me it's definitely the way forward - and using bikes with front brakes rather than without, stuff like that - it's all directed towards our [MotoGP] type of racing."

Training at Rossi's ranch traditionally ends with a race, which Smith was happy to watch from the sidelines after only getting two hours sleep following flight delays.

"I'd had one hour sleep on the flight, drove here [to Misano], had one more hour of sleep then went straight to the ranch! So you can imagine - after 35 laps I was done! So they did the race. I was watching."

Who won the race?

"I can't tell you!" Smith smiled.

Turning to this weekend, the Misano circuit has been completely resurfaced for 2015, including some changes to the kerbing and corner profiles. A private test was held in July, but Yamaha did not attend.

"I've heard up to a 5% improvement in lap time with the new asphalt," Smith said. "It'll be interesting to see exactly what it is, but from what I've heard Marc [Marquez] was ripping around here at the test.

"We're the only manufacturer that hasn't tested so we're on the back foot a little. But I believe that the pace Valentino and Jorge were displaying last year here we shouldn't be too bad. We'll try and analyse what they were doing and go from there."

Smith is sixth in the world championship standings, with a 32-point lead over the next best satellite rider.