Bradley Smith was content with his day's work at the close of Friday as he finished FP2 ninth fastest, the second best-placed Yamaha, and just 0.1s away from Valentino Rossi's final lap time.
A late lap pushed Smith inside the top ten and he explained how the conditions around the Termas de Rio Hondo track were more suited to Honda on a one off lap, something that may not be as evident in Sunday's race.
“I can't complain, because I'm second fastest Yamaha, less than 0.1s from Valentino, so I believe that we are where we need to be,” explained Smith.
“I think it's difficult conditions for everybody. Honda have always been able to extract pretty good grip around this racetrack, especially over one lap. If we have a look over the last two years, they've always had something a little bit more over Yamaha on the one lap pace, but come race day, it's going to be a little bit different.
“I'm happy with what we did, compared the medium tyres, put the hard tyres on at the very end of FP2, and I did my best lap times on them.
“With this type of temperature, it would make it difficult if we had to race in these conditions, but we expect it to get a little bit cooler over the next couple of days, which tends to bring the mediums back into play, because this morning they weren't really much of a track issue.
“I hope that the grip improves a little bit more tomorrow, maybe a little bit more rubber down on the track. But I'm not overly convinced, I think we've seen the better days of Argentina in terms of track grip, and we just have to deal with what we've got here and try and set up the bike as best as possible.”
Asked whether how much the issues with the lack of grip can be altered through bike set-up, the Englishman continued, “I think a lot of it is down to how you ride it and how you load the tires in the right way. You can't be too aggressive with it, because the bike just doesn't react very well.
“It's very strange, because I don't really feel that bad in terms of grip and performance, but the lap time's not there and I always feel that I'm on top of the surface, I'm not actually in the tarmac.
“You just feel it constantly floating and adjusting. I wouldn't say that I'm spinning everywhere and it's dangerous, it's just lacking something. Especially at a high speed, high flowing race track like this, that's where we see such a big difference in the lap time compared to previous years.”
On the differences between the hard and medium compound tyres, he added, “I did two laps on the hard, so I can't give a full evaluation. But the biggest thing for me was that the hards were more suited to the 55° track temperature that we had.
“The mediums were just getting a little bit too hot and definitely floating around little bit, whereas the hard was more suited to those conditions. Whether you can use those tomorrow morning in 30° track temperature I don't think anyone really knows at the moment.
“As always at this race track, we always seem to be having to just deal with the evolution and the progress of the track. Each day we have to say, OK, we're more or less there, and then wait till tomorrow, get more or less there, then wait till tomorrow.
“You can't really refine around this racetrack. You'll see guys maybe refining come warm up and just before the race, but between first and second day, I can't see it.”