Bradley Smith made an encouraging start to the Japanese MotoGP as he ended the day fifth fastest after setting his best time using the harder option Bridgestone rear.

Smith made a solid start to the day after completing FP1 fourth fastest on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, lapping in 1m 45.888s.

The 24-year-old improved his time to 1m 45.250c in the afternoon on the harder rear after spending time at the beginning of the session evaluating the soft compound.

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"Firstly, I enjoy coming to Motegi because it is always good fun due to the Japanese fans and seeing the amount of passion that they have for MotoGP. With regards to today, things were very positive for us on track," said Smith.

"We did a really good job with making the bike as stable as possible which was our main focus today because this is very important here due to the circuit's hard braking points.

"In addition, we were able to run a lot of laps on the soft rear tyre and with the modifications we made, I am quite confident that we will have a good pace at the end of the race on Sunday," he added.

"Overall, I am very pleased as my time put me in fifth, and I am especially happy as I completed that lap whilst I was using the harder rear tyre, so this shows that both compounds are working well.

"For tomorrow, the main aim is to work more with the softer rear option because I believe that this will be the race choice so we will continue in that direction in order to be able to close Yamaha's home Grand prix with a strong result."