Bradley Smith was an uncharacteristic 19th place during Friday MotoGP practice at Circuit of the Americas, having decided a radically new approach to bike set-up was needed.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 star, sixth overall the top satellite rider last season, has finished eighth in the two rounds so far held of the new Michelin/single ECU era.

"We're constantly fighting for something that's not there and not working. So I decided, it's time to scrap everything that we've done so far and try something different," Smith explained.

"We're reinventing our whole setting and our whole way of trying to make this motorcycle work, because we weren't finding it where we were.

"We were lost and nothing seemed to be working, so [we're] completely reinventing everything I've learned in the last 24 months.

"We did that in the afternoon, so I was actually quite pleased I went as well as I did. We changed a lot of things, from riding position to suspension to geometry, so today was the first day of preseason testing.

"The bike seems to react better to me, I seem to be able to make it do more what I want it to do, it makes more logical sense when we're making changes, so I feel that we're in the ballpark. It's just going to take a little to figure it out.

"Maybe it won't be this weekend, but I hope to figure it out in the next couple of races.

"Whereas I saw no potential with the other setting. It's a brave move to do, but I scraped two eighths in the first two rounds, and it certainly wasn't going any better, so it was time for a change."

Smith, confirmed as a factory KTM rider in 2017, was 2.445s from Honda's Marc Marquez, but 0.9s from team-mate Pol Espargaro.

B y Peter McLaren



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