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.””


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.”





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