Ex-Moto2 rider Kyle Smith enjoyed a fine start to first full season in the FIM Superstock Cup by placing third at the first round at Aragon.
The Englishman, who spent most of his childhood in Spain, used the practice sessions to adapt to his Racedays CBR 1000 and was never outside the top seven positions. Having qualified seventh, Smith made a fine getaway and spent much of the race in a lonely third behind runaway leader Leandro Mercado and Lorenzo Savadori.
With the team having only two days of preseason testing Smith was more than pleased with the result.
“We had two days testing; Monday and Tuesday at a track day in Alcarras, then straight to here,” he told Crash.net
. “It was a really difficult weekend but I'm really happy with the result. The bike is new - we didn't do much testing. We've only had a couple of days with the CBR. The others out there have had a couple of seasons already!”
“We didn't really know where to start on Friday but we worked hard and took some risks. We made changes from qualifying for the race; normally we like to have the set up before. But it worked out pretty good in the end and I managed to hold the pace.”
Smith eventually finished three seconds behind Savadori and nine ahead of Christoffer Bergman. With the next Honda finishing in eleventh Smith feels his CBR can challenge at the front once he has had adequate track time.
“It was a bit a lonely race because I wasn't catching the guy in front and no-one was catching me. But I managed to match the pace of the leaders and turn in some consistent laps.
“We still have a load of work to do but I think the Honda can be a top three bike. People have been a bit down on the CBR but I think it's possible to be up there with the Ducatis and Kawasakis.”
The next round of the FIM Superstock Cup takes place in Assen on the last weekend of April.