Bradley Smith suffered a front-end tumble as the Sepang MotoGP Test roared into life on Monday in Malaysia, although there was no repeat of the high number of spills that blighted the post-race Valencia test.
The British rider praised the improvements made over the winter by Michelin and laid the blame for his last corner crash solely at his own feet, explaining that he was 'pushing to find the limit' on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 under hard braking.
Smith, 15th fastest and 2.3 seconds down on pacesetter Jorge Lorenzo on the factory Yamaha after clocking a best time in 2m 03.026s, said: “Unfortunately I fell at the last corner, however in a strange way, I'm pleased to get my first crash of the year over and done with! It was my fault because I was trying to understand the front tyre, as it is a new style and we were intending to find where the limit is.
“I was experimenting with this in the hard braking corners and in the last turn I went onto the dirty side of the track and then unfortunately fell.
“Besides that, we had some small issues today which forced us to make a few changes with the electronics as well as the engine,” he added.
“As a result, we lost a bit of time but I was still able to make a comparison between last season's electronics and this year's, so now we have a clear indication of what we need to do next.
“Michelin have done a convincing job so far and they've brought two compounds of front and rear tyre that are working well here, so they've made a significant step from last year at the Valencia test.”
Smith acknowledged the significant gap to Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, who bagged an opening day 1-2 for Movistar Yamaha, but is confident the gap will reduce over the final two days in Malaysia.
“If you look at the Yamaha riders, it's clear to see that Jorge and Vale are running well, but I'm sure that once we have had a bit more time with the 2016 electronics, we'll be able to improve and climb up the rankings,” said Smith.
“Anyway, I rode 55 decent laps today and now we have a solid plan and a good base to carry on with in the next two days.
“I am pleased to be back after what has been such a long break.”
Smith's team-mate, Pol Espargaro, was 12th quickest following a lap in 2m 02.646s.