Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith concluded the Motul Grand Prix of Motegi in 7th position after producing a determined display in what was a demanding race at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit today. The 15th round of the MotoGP World Championship kicked off in tricky conditions as rain and mist hit the track in the morning, which caused all of the warm up sessions to be delayed. Yet, the MotoGP race was unaffected and began at the scheduled time and when the lights flicked off, Smith launched forwards to commence his Motegi battle. He completed the opening lap holding his grid position and then targeted the pack in front as he looked to join the hunt for the top six. However, during the next lap, Smith slipped back to 12th but he dug deep and set into his race pace before shifting through the field to 8th by lap ten. Next in his sights was Cal Crutchlow who was holding the leading satellite position and Smith pushed on to consistently inch closer. The Briton homed right in and on the 15th lap, he bolted past Crutchlow to clinch 6th before opening up a gap to the chasing rider. The 24 year old carried on battling but on the last lap he was shuffled back to 7th despite giving his all as he fought all the way to the chequered flag. Nevertheless, today’s placement confirms Smith as one of only two riders who have finished every MotoGP race this season and he now optimistically looks onwards to the next round in Australia, where he gained his maiden podium in the premium class last year.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro experienced bad luck and unfortunately fell in the final laps of the Motegi battle. The Spaniard, who bolted forwards from 11th position on the grid, confidently aimed to move through the pack at the beginning of the 24 lap contest. Evidently, by the close of the first lap, the 24 year old found himself up to 8th having overtaken three riders and then set his sights on climbing higher. Yet, he was shuffled back to 10th shortly afterwards but remained fully focused and reclaimed two positions with 16 laps left to run. Following this, Espargaro persevered and continued his race pace as he fought the challenging conditions at the demanding stop and go 4.8 kilometre circuit whilst aiming to inch closer to Andrea Iannone in front of him. On the 11th lap, he unfortunately ran wide while trying to overtake the Italian rider and slipped down to 15th position, but pushed onwards before he recovering four places in the following laps. Yet, his luck turned for the worse as he fell two laps from the end whilst running in 11th. Espargaro, who fortunately walked away unhurt from the fast crash at turn eleven, intends to bounce back strongly at next week’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 7th Championship :6th Points : 152

Bradley Smith - 2015

“I am pleased with today’s result after the difficult start that we had in warm up this morning as we finally managed to turn it around and perform well even in the wet conditions. When the morning session began, we ran with the base setting that we used at Silverstone, which I wasn’t overly happy with but it was the only wet setting that we had. To be honest, it didn’t work and we were down the order so I expected the race to be even more difficult. I crossed my fingers for dry weather as I knew that if that occurred, I could attack and do a good job, yet it wasn’t to be. However, the team adjusted the bike and shortened the wheelbase in order to find some more grip for me and it worked really well. At the beginning of the race, I needed to get used to the new setting and adjust myself, but the feeling came quickly and then I started working my way through the field. It was a shame that Crutchlow passed me on the final lap but my front tyre was really worn and I think that the Honda had a little bit more towards the end. Also, I was a little bit lucky because I was leading Cal until turn 11 and there I tucked the front but saved it with my elbow, so as a result he powered past me. Anyway, I am not too disappointed because I was in the leading satellite battle and we really improved a lot from the warm up. I may have lost 5th in the championship but it was to the rider who won the race, so I can’t be too upset. Next up is Phillip Island, which I am looking forward to. Last year I had a good feeling there and the Yamaha is known for running well at that track. Therefore, bearing in mind all of the improvements that we have made to the bike, the feeling and my riding style, it should be a good weekend. I can’t promise a repeat of last year’s podium but I’ll try my very best!”

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : DNF

Championship : 10th Points : 88

Pol Espargaro - 2015“It has been a tough event here in Japan this weekend and we were not at our best in the practice sessions. Therefore, the wet conditions this morning certainly didn't help to make things any easier. However, I began the race confidently and with quite a good start. In the first few laps, the bike was working really well and I found a solid rhythm, but shortly after that I began to struggle with the front tyre moving a lot which made it really complicated to turn the bike. I kept on pushing yet when I tried to pass Iannone, I ran wide and lost several positions, so I had to commence my recovery from 15th position with 13 laps remaining. While I was trying to make up some time to the guys ahead of me, I was continuously battling with my M1 as the front tyre was dropping more and more. Then, three laps before the end, I had closed in on my brother and would have loved to pass him but unfortunately, the front tyre locked and I fell whilst braking into turn 11 with only one and a half laps to go, which is a big pity as I definitely didn't want to end my weekend in this way. I hit my head on the barrier during this incident, but I’ve undertaken a medical check and luckily I walked away unhurt. Another positive is that we are now flying to Australia, which is my favourite track and we were strong there last year, so I'm looking forward to next week and getting back on my Yamaha YZR-M1.

Profil 

   
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

“It was a typical Japanese Grand Prix and like always, a lot happened. The race was very eventful as well as exciting for everyone to watch including us on the pit wall! Initially, we had been a little bit worried about the race as Brad was not comfortable in the wet weather conditions this morning so we were not too optimistic. However, the team changed the entire setup of the bike and although his start was quite good, the first few laps were quite slow but he managed to recover very well and continued pushing every lap. He climbed all the way up to 6th but then the tyres started to have a big impact and it became the key difference as we saw at the front of the field. Nevertheless, I want to congratulate him as he fought right until the end and his result keeps Dovizioso behind him in the championship. In addition, it was a really valuable weekend for him as he increased his confidence in the wet. On the other side of the pit box, Pol was having a good race in the opening stages and his rhythm was similar to Brad’s. Yet, unfortunately he made a few mistakes which meant it was a bit up and down for him and the worst thing was that he crashed right at the end. This was a big shame as he needed a confidence boosting result in the wet, but anyway there is another race next week and hopefully the sun will be shining there for both of our Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders.”

 

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will kick off his campaign to finish Yamaha’s home Grand Prix as the leading satellite rider from back of the third row on the grid after an action packed Qualifying 2 session today. In the morning, the young Briton continued his setup work for the 24 lap sprint tomorrow and he rode a strong pace as he pushed onwards. He unfortunately suffered a crash in the final moments of the practice, yet his time of 1’45.250 from FP2 yesterday saw him finish in 9th overall and therefore safely through to the afternoon’s second qualifying. The last free practice of the day saw Smith riding again with very consistent as well as fast lap times and as a result his confidence was high when the final shootout began. The session itself commenced slightly later due to a red flag being shown in FP4 because of another rider crashing. Yet, once the action commenced, the 24 year old dug deep and launched into his assault as he aimed to land a top grid position. However, when Smith was undertaking his second flying lap, luck went against him and he fell. He bravely remounted and raced back to the pits before changing to his second bike and then returned to the track with just over five minutes left to go. A short time later and whilst running in the last sector during another fast lap which would have placed him highly on the MotoGP grid, the Briton fell again. Yet, his best completed lap of 1’45.067, will see him begin the Motul Grand Prix of Japan from 9th position as Smith will intend to undertake a rocket start before he aims to meet the chequered flag inside the top six.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Pol Espargaro delivered a resolute effort in what was a challenging qualifying session and he will begin the 15th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship from the fourth row of the grid. The young Spaniard had an eventful morning practice after falling mid way through FP3, yet he determinedly sprinted back to the pits before producing a lap time of 1’45.088 which left him in 7th overall and able to pass through to Q2. When the 15 minute qualifying battle commenced, Espargaro jumped onto his Yamaha YZR-M1 and quickly got up to speed. After gaining momentum, he launched into a series of flying laps and produced a top time of 1’45.219. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion then aimed to lower this lap further, yet time ran out. However, this result saw him as the second fastest MotoGP bike through the first sector of the 4.8 kilometre Twin Ring Motegi track and he will begin from 11th position tomorrow. Nevertheless, Espargaro is fully confident of being able to fight as the leading satellite bike at Yamaha’s 60th anniversary home Grand Prix.

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 9th Time : 1'45.067 Laps : 5

Bradley Smith - 2015 “First of all I want to start by apologising to the team for the extra work that I created today with my three crashes, which were all on laps where I was really pushing. A big thanks as well to Pol’s guys who helped out to make sure both of my bikes were ready for FP4. Aside from that I have to say that we had a very strong day and I am feeling confident for the race tomorrow as we know what we can achieve. Of course it is a bit disappointing to crash twice in Q2, but I know why it happened and the fact is that I pushed a bit too hard as I knew that if everything went perfectly then I would have probably been able to get onto the front row and so for myself, it was worth a try. The first fall was a pity as I locked the front going into turn five and the fork bottomed out. I could have picked up the bike but the electronics didn’t shut down fully so I had to jump on my second Yamaha. However, the front tyre on that M1 had already done 17 laps when I left the garage, so running at only 0.3 off the top time just before I fell was a bit too much! Both crashes were quick and I know that they happened because I was really at the limit. Nevertheless, I have a firm battle plan for tomorrow and I am feeling optimistic for the race after what happened in FP4. There, Jorge was behind me and didn’t make too many inroads into me and I set low 1’45 lap times as I have been for the entire weekend. I still believe a top five is a definite possibility and it is what I will be aiming for as my main ambition is to not lose many points on Dani and I have to try and stay in front of the Ducati’s. So, I intend to have a consistent race with a good start to conclude the first of the three back to back flyaway races solidly.””

Profil 

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 11th

Time : 1'45.219 Laps : 8

Pol Espargaro - 2015

"Overall, I tried my best but it was a challenging day and we have some work to do ahead of the race tomorrow in order to be able to perform how we want to. A positive about today was that we managed to solve the grip issue that was affecting us yesterday. However, I’m still struggling with the turning of my M1 because when I enter the corners it is really tough to hold the right line as the bike keeps running wide. Therefore I found myself in the wrong positions when exiting the turns and it goes without saying that I can't be fast like this. Moreover, it is physically challenging and makes it nearly impossible to change direction quickly. As a result we will have a long night and need to take a deep look into the data to improve this situation for tomorrow morning's warm up which will hopefully be dry. However, I know that if we can recover a decent feeling with the turning, we will have a good chance in the race, but I guarantee that I will do my best tomorrow to give the Japanese fans a good show.”

Profil 

   

 

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith got off to a promising start in the land of the rising sun by completing the opening day of practice in 5th position overall. The 24 year old immediately got to grips with his Yamaha YZR-M1 at the demanding stop and go Twin Ring Motegi Circuit in FP1. After undertaking the initial shakedown laps, he got stuck into the preparation of his race setup for the 24 lap sprint on Sunday. As the chequered flag was waved, the British rider sped across the line with a time of 1’45.888, leaving him in 4th and merely 0.061 behind the second placed bike. When the afternoon session commenced, Smith continued to make adjustments to his setup and he also evaluated the tyre life of the softer rear compound. In the end, he concluded a total of 17 laps and impressively set a personal best of 1’45.250 which left him in 5th whilst using the harder rear tyre. This performance sees the Briton begin his weekend in Japan positively and he will now be seeking to clinch a strong grid position tomorrow as he aims to finish Motul Grand Prix of Japan in the leading satellite bike position.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro started the round 15 of the 2015 World Championship with a run to 9th place overall. The Spaniard, who holds fond memories of racing in Japan after winning the Suzuka 8 hour race this year and also celebrating his 2013 Moto2 World Title at the Motegi circuit, got straight to work as he started his assault. After making the initial modifications to his base setup of the Yamaha YZR-M1, the 24 year old completed the opening session positively and in 9th with a time of 1’46.323. In the afternoon, he continued his preparation work with further steps forward being made and Espargaro completed the session in 9th with a top lap of 1’45.597, just over three tenths of a second behind his teammate. Tomorrow, he will line up for the all important qualifying session full of confidence as he aims to grab a solid grid position at Yamaha’s 60th anniversary home Grand prix.

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 5th Time : 1'45.250 Laps : 36

Bradley Smith - 2015 “Firstly, I enjoy coming to Motegi because it is always good fun due to the Japanese fans and seeing the amount of passion that they have for MotoGP. With regards to today, things were very positive for us on track. We did a really good job with making the bike as stable as possible which was our main focus today because this is very important here due to the circuit’s hard braking points. In addition, we were able to run a lot of laps on the soft rear tyre and with the modifications we made, I am quite confident that we will have a good pace at the end of the race on Sunday. Overall, I am very pleased as my time put me in 5th, and I am especially happy as I completed that lap whilst I was using the harder rear tyre, so this shows that both compounds are working well. For tomorrow, the main aim is to work more with the softer rear option because I believe that this will be the race choice so we will continue in that direction in order to be able to close Yamaha’s home Grand prix with a strong result.”

Profil  

   
Pol Espargaro

Position : 9th

Time : 1'45.597 Laps : 28

Pol Espargaro - 2015

“It was a bit of a tricky opening day for me at Motegi and we struggled in a few areas, but I am certain that we can turn everything around for the vital qualifying session tomorrow. Our biggest issue is that there was a low grip level and when this happens, we suffer more than most. Having said that, we managed to undertake some good work and we have a direction to work towards tomorrow. Moreover, we will now check the other Yamaha’s data in order to understand where we can make up a few more tenths. The lap time itself is a solid base to start from, yet it is further back compared to where I want to be. However we have still two more days and I am fully confident that we can get to where we need to be in Sunday’s Japanese GP.”

Profil  

   

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