The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pairing of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith concluded the test in Phillip Island positively having made some encouraging steps forward after another committed performance on the final day despite the intermittent rain. The inconsistent weather limited the track time, yet the Tech3 duo powered through and continued to collect valuable data for the upcoming 2016 MotoGP season, with the next outing being the last pre-season test at Qatar on Wednesday 2nd March.
Pol Espargaro carried on pushing today as he aimed to increase his knowledge about the new standard ECU in order to further refine his base setup. In fact, the young Spaniard’s best time, which left him only 0.587 from the top in the combined standings, saw him improve by nearly half a second compared to yesterday, while the fastest time of the test couldn’t be beaten throughout the day. On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage Bradley Smith produced a spirited display and confidently completed 45 laps, despite falling midway through the day, although he was not injured. Smith finished in 16th, yet his time from yesterday places him in 13th overall, but only six tenths of a second from third, leaving him fully optimistic for the next test.
Position : 9th - Time : 1'29.718 - Laps : 130
"Altogether, I’m pleased with how the test went. Of course, we hoped for better weather here in Australia, but considering that the forecast for today was even worse than it actually was, we have to be happy with what we achieved. We were able to try a lot of things and to be honest I’m very satisfied with the rhythm that we managed to run. Also, my fastest lap time was decent so after the difficult test that we had in Sepang, we are now back to where we want and need to be. For sure, it goes without saying that we still need to collect a lot of information so that we can fine tune the electronics in a better way as it is still quite new to us, but I believe we are already working in a good direction. Also our tyre knowledge is very limited at the moment and especially today when the track temperature was colder, you could see that everybody was struggling a bit more. Yet, we will have to face these conditions in the season, so there are still many things to learn. The only inconvenience of today was my crash. When I left the pit box, I didn’t feel confident with the tyres so I came back in and we decided to use another set. As a result, I was still checking the behaviour of the bike when Jorge passed me. I believe he put four seconds between us, but then closed the gas in the first corner, so by corner two I was already with him and had to take a wider line to give him enough space and as soon as I touched the brake on the dirty part of the track, I lost the bike. It’s a pity, but I’m fine and the team did a great job to repair the bike so that we could still take good advantage of the day and now I can leave Australia feeling much more confident than I was a few days ago."
Position : 13th - Time : 1'29.992 - Laps : 147
"We did a good job here in the past three days, although there are obvious signs that we have to do a bit more. I was a bit unlucky today because I did the famous turn 4 crash. This corner was beneficial for me in 2014 in the race when I got my podium but not today unfortunately! The good news is that I don’t have too much pain or any serious injuries and when I remounted, I was able to ride quite comfortably. Aside from this, it was a positive day, although it was a shame about the cold weather and the rain in the middle of the day, which affected our front tyre choice. Yet, we still got through our testing programme so I feel confident enough to say that we have a really solid base setting as we go into the final three days of testing at Qatar. There, we need to reconfirm a few things that we tried here. The Phillip Island track is quite specific and the grip is also high, but Losail is very different and the grip levels are much lower. Therefore, it will be necessary to check everything that we discovered here in Australia. I am happy to say that the electronics are really positive at the moment and the team and I are doing a solid job in understanding that. There are still some areas that we need to work on, specifically with the acceleration, but that’s the same for everyone I think. I am satisfied with what we accomplished here, but we need to push harder next time because 16th is not enough for us and for our sponsors. Having said that, I don’t think the results matter too much at the moment, it’s when the season starts that it counts, so I look forward to carrying on the positive work in Qatar as we inch closer to the first race of the year.”