Smith to charge from 7th on the grid for opening Qatar race

Bradley Smith will begin his 2015 MotoGP campaign from the head of the third row of the grid after a brilliant display of determination in qualifying at Qatar. The young British rider started the day confidently by completing FP4 in 7th place, before challenging in qualifying session one. Here, the 23 year old rider undertook a superb effort in the dying seconds to post a time of 1’55.235 and move through to the second 15 minute shootout. The final qualifying saw Smith meet the chequered flag in 7th place after speeding to a best lap of 1’54.732. This was all the more impressive in the fiercely competitive class with the first eleven riders of the grid being covered by under a second. Furthermore, Smith’s lap was only six tenths of a second from the pole position time and his qualifying performance sees him primed for tomorrow’s 22 lap sprint.

Meanwhile Pol Espargaro will start the first race of the year from 10th position on the grid aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 under the floodlights. The young Spanish rider completed FP4 in 6th place with a positive display before qualifying session two commenced. Here the 2013 Moto2 World champion leapt into action at the Losail International circuit and by the close of the intense shootout, the Spaniard produced a best time of 1’55.004, with a gap of only half a second separating him from the front row. Espargaro’s tenacious performance in qualifying leaves him poised for a top points scoring finish tomorrow in order to kick start his 2015 season positively.

Bradley Smith
 Position : 7th  Time : 1'54.732  Laps : 7

Bradley Smith - 2015"I’m really happy with today’s performance and it’s pleasing to finish so close to the second row. I certainly didn’t make it easy on myself as I had to go through QP1! Yet, I think we’ve been battling with some tyre issues recently. The one I had yesterday wasn’t good and the same thing happened again in QP1 today but we didn't adjust anything else on the bike other than changing the tyre and I improved by half a second. It’s a bit of a gamble with tyres at the moment because of the test and the tyres have been warmed up and then cooled down quite a lot. Anyway, I will start the race from 7th on the grid and I will certainly be in the hunt for a good result. I am feeling optimistic and my race pace is positive so I’m confident of a strong finish to begin this year. I made it count when it mattered today and gave my absolute all, so although I didn’t help myself initially, we’ve pulled through and now I’m ready for tomorrow."


Pol Espargaro
 Position : 10th Time : 1'55.004  Laps : 7

Pol Espargaro - 2015"All in all, I can’t be too dissatisfied about the day. The final free practice went very well as we managed to solve some issues with the used tyres which we were having over the weekend. However, after that, we had to start qualifying with new tyres and so we had to face a few other things that we need to adjust for tomorrow. Nevertheless, our bike has been competitive and I believe that we are ready for the race. Of course, starting from the fourth row of the grid won’t make things any easier and for sure, the Ducati’s will be strong, especially at the beginning before their tyres begin to drop. Yet, our rhythm is not too bad and if we can be aggressive at the start and then maybe pass some of the bikes in front of us, we can commence the 2015 season on a high."




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