Bradley Smith has said substantial changes were needed to recover positive feelings from his Yamaha M1 at Austin, as he drastically improved his fastest times from Friday to Saturday.
So often comfortably inside the top eight in 2015, Smith admitted he had needed to change everything on his bike to get the most from Michelin's tyres on Friday. Eleventh may not have been the most positive result, but the Englishman was content with the changes made.
“We found 1.7 seconds from yesterday,” he said. “Still a little bit far from what we would like. But considering all the things of the last three sessions or the last four sessions being nineteenth, it was nice to go straight through to Q2. We didn't have a new front tyre for Q2 unfortunately, so by the time I was pushing right at the end, I just didn't have everything I need.
“Also, considering the big changes that we're doing, when you're really on the limit like that, it opened up a few things that we need to improve, so we'll analyse those this evening and see what we can do tomorrow. To get into the 2'04s and back that up with three 2'05 lows, I'm pleased.
“It's starting to work how a normal motorbike should. The bike's reacting how it should, the changes we make are logical, it's now reacting to subtle changes, whereas before, we could change anything on the front end and it wouldn't feel any different. At least now I'm getting some feel for what the bike is actually doing, and it's talking to me.”
On where the biggest differences came from, Smith continued, “It came a little bit from every corner. The problems we were having were in every single corner. I don't feel the front tyre like I need to. I don't get any normal reactions from the rear end of the bike.
“We were generally just in the wrong ballpark. We were playing around I don't know where, but it certainly wasn't in Austin. I don't know exactly everything that the team changed, but it was centimetre changes rather than millimetre changes. We went big and that's why we need a bit of time now to refine a few details.
“[I am] Just trying to get everything to work in the right way. I can't really say if it's more or less, or lower or higher. It's just making sure you're pushing on the right part of the tyres at all times.
“I always felt we were pushing on the wrong part, sometimes too far over it, sometimes too far behind, we weren't in that balance point, we weren't pushing on the good part, front and rear. It was big changes, and I'm just glad they worked.”