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MotoGP Qatar: Smith ‘super pleased’ with KTM debut

A technical issue prevents Bradley Smith from challenging team-mate Pol Espargaro in closing laps; is nevertheless delighted with KTM showing.
Not even a technical problem in the closing laps of the Sunday's MotoGP curtain raiser could quell the enthusiasm, as Bradley Smith expressed delight at the performance of KTM's RC16 in Qatar.

Making his race debut for the Austrian factory, Smith was engaged in a tight battle with team-mate Pol Espargaro for 16th place during the first 14 laps, until mechanical issues forced him to drop his pace toward the race's end.

Smith would ultimately finish in 17th, 39 seconds off race winner Maverick Viñales and six back of Espargaro, but his spirits remained high some time after the finish.

“I'm super pleased,” he said, referencing not just the race finish for both riders – KTM's first in the premier class since 2005 -, but the pace of both men, which was around 1.3-1.4s per lap off the fastest runners.

“This is the opening night for this new project,” beamed the Englishman. “It was quite a good success. The lap times that me and Pol were doing to the front guys was better than we expected.

“I mean, just making a motorcycle to get to the finish isn't easy especially in those conditions. We saw a lot of guys making mistakes. I'm super pleased with what we were able to do today.

“The last five laps I had a few technical problems. I couldn't fight with Pol, which was disappointing. But it was a good battle, the two orange guys out there.

“In general we did the best that we could. A big thanks to all the KTM crew and we'll see what happens in Argentina.”

Smith had set himself a goal of scoring a point at the first race. While that did not quite come to fruition, he believes the team has established a working base set-up for the upcoming rounds.

“It certainly gives us a lot of data and a lot of information. I think we need to be proud of what we've done here. At least this gives us our base and now we can start to work. It gives us a lot of information.

“Pol was using a different rear tyre than I was and we had some different electronics as well. They will be able to study all this information and I think make some good improvements so we're ready for Argentina.”


Tagged as: Smith , Espargaro , Bradl , Viñales

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mrfill

March 29, 2017 12:54 PM

It's KTM's first ever motogp race. Even Suzuki, on their return in 2015, only managed 11th & 14th and they had 10 years of recent motogp experience to call on. KTM are not numpties and have plenty of Red Bull moolah to play with. They will improve and while they might not win this year, they will be much further up the field by the end of the season. If they are still trailing around at the back then, you may commence with the brickbats...

MVRACER

March 29, 2017 12:44 PM

The lap time from the front guys is not too bad. All in all a good start. By the way part of the contest includes getting to the finish and not crashing! Another positive. If the bike was the finished article it wouldn't be the best result but all in all very encouraging.



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