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MotoGP Malaysia: Smith talks reasoning behind carbon discs in wet

Bradley Smith feels that carbon brake discs can be used safely in wet conditions as long as a high working temperature can be generated then maintained.
Bradley Smith has spoken of his experiences using carbon brake discs in rainy conditions at Sepang, and explained that it offers more consistency than the steel equivalent, as long as high temperatures are generated then maintained.

Along with Marc Marquez, Smith opted for the carbon discs for the 19-lap race on Sunday, held in extremely wet conditions, as he knew they would be suited to the numerous heavy braking zones that feature on the 3.4-mile layout.

“It's always something I've leant toward,” said Smith, who racked up an impressive run of three point-scoring finishes during the flyaways, despite returning from a serious knee injury.

“We've had a lot of problems with steel discs. I don't particularly like the feeling it gives me. It's just not consistent. We actually struggle with some vibration as well. Also, we ride 90 percent of the time with carbon so I know that feeling. I know it with one finger, two and three. It's just a lot more consistent.

“As long as I can generate the temperature… Somewhere like Assen, Phillip Island or Silverstone, you wouldn't do it as there's no guarantee to generate the temperatures.

“But being here and the amount of hard braking, we were confident that it would be OK. It's something that I kind of requested a couple of years ago. It's something that I've kept in the back pocket if needed.

“I've certainly practiced with it, I'm not if I had raced it before. I knew even when going around in the torrential rain at the beginning, I was still practicing to make sure I could stop, and it was totally fine. For me, as long as your head tells you that you can do it. It does take a little bit of bravery but it was also a smart decision.

“You put the disc cover on and make sure it keeps the temperature in there. Then in the first couple of laps you have to be a little bit careful. If a little bit of water gets on the disc that's something that can affect it. In the opening laps there were really no issues.”

Smith ran Michelin's medium wet tyre, a choice that had negative implications. Unable to get the rear rubber up to working temperature, Smith was unable to keep pace with the top ten after the early laps.

“It was painful. Looking at the rear tyre temperature, it was critical out there. It was touch and go whether we went with the hard or the soft. With the standing water, the tyre didn't come up to temperature.

“It was ten degrees less than yesterday. We know what our operating window is and ten degrees is 25 percent off. It's frustrating from that point of view. Could we have done more? I don't think so. It would have taken a drastic change before the race to compensate for the added rain. We never knew. Before the race it was drying up. It could have been good for us.

“I enjoyed the opening part. I was battling with everybody but I didn't have the pace to move forward and my tyre started to cool down. Every time I tried to push on I was having massive moments. I was outside the points at that point.

“There is no point pushing to gain just one position. I tried to ride the smartest race I could. I tried a lot of different things because 19 laps is a long time. It wasn't a setting issue. It was more tyre temp, especially the left hand side.

“It's frustrating because we've had such a positive weekend. Ninth this morning in warm up. A lot of positives to take from it. I wasn't expecting point-scoring finishes when I turned up in Japan.

“Overall these three weeks have been a lot more beneficial than when I first thought. I suppose it's nice to be disappointment with 14th. It means I'm getting back to where I need to be mentally. It'll be nice to take this and move on to Valencia.”

Tagged as: Smith , Marquez , Bradl

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November 03, 2016 2:58 PM

95% of a full factory bike? Probably. What does that mean in lap times? Probably at least a second. Colin Edwards is one of the few people to have ridden both, and his views are very clear. They are not the same beasts. JG94 also makes a very good point. A good tactic from Herve to say that, but he has also been a big supporter of Smith, who of course repaid him with satellite honours. A poor year from Smith this year, but that happens. Just look how JL has suffered at times with the new tyres in the wet. Good luck to Smith at KTM, and if anyone is interested go to motomatters for his insight into the electronics on the bikes.

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