Bradley Smith was giving little away when pushed on which new components he was using at Motegi, after the Englishman ended the first day of free practice 17th fastest.

The Englishman confirmed he was running “new parts” but was unable to expand, instead stating that they gave him better traction in the wet conditions.

It was an eventful day in Japan for Smith, who was a fine tenth fastest in FP1 before a fall pocked the early part of the second session.

“I have new parts, but that's all I can say,” he commented on Friday when asked how his bike differed from the last race. “Basically, the new parts for me give a bit better grip, a little bit more traction, which you need especially in the wet. And that's really it at the moment.

“Obviously, if it gives a bit better traction in the wet, then I imagine it'll be a bit better in the dry as well.”

On whether both of his KTM RC16 machines will be the same on Saturday, he said, “It depends on which one I want! At the end of the day, we needed to back check some things here, so after tomorrow, I'm going to have two of the same ones. So we just needed to confirm a few things.

“I mean, you could wait for it to dry, but I don't think it's going to dry this weekend, so I need to crack on with two bikes the same, and tomorrow should be easier that way.

“There's definitely some positives, and no negatives at the moment, so that's why to start going in that direction tomorrow. I mean, we're talking small refinements, but I think we were only 0.6 or 0.7 from making it inside the top 10 today, so 0.6 is a lot.”

Describing his fall in FP2, Smith said, “It was one of those ones where we changed a few things, like the front fork settings at Aragon, and we'd not tried them in the wet. And I'm still learning where the limit is on that type of thing.

“This morning I felt quite comfortable in the brake area, so I didn't really feel that I needed to improve there, but then straight away this afternoon, that's where the lap time stars to come, and you start squeezing the brake a little bit more. There's something a little bit missing in the wet, so we need to just refine that a little bit.

“Obviously it was a pain in the arse, not going to lie, because I don't like making those kind of things. But in general, I was happy with my pace this morning, tenth position, and feel that all things considered, if it's the same conditions tomorrow, there's no reason I can't fight for another top ten again.

“I feel that the bike's working well here. We have a chance tomorrow. It's not going to be easy, but I have a chance. That's quite exciting, it's one of the first times I've said it this year. So let's see.”

 

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