Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith completed the final preseason run out today with encouraging performances which leave them confident for the approaching first race of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar.
Pol Espargaro brought his test campaign to a positive close as he carried on his thorough work with the electronics as well as the Michelin tyres. In addition, the Spaniard was also one of the few riders to undertake a full race simulation today and ultimately, he cut 0.865 from his fastest lap from day one, which was just over half a second from 2nd overall. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith dug deep as he completed a mammoth 62 laps, whilst continuing in making alterations to his Yamaha YZR-M1. The end result saw the confident Briton finish just 0.084 behind his teammate, leaving him optimistic of his ambitions to complete the opening Grand Prix inside the top 8.
Position : 11th - Time : 1'55.882 - Laps : 113
"I am really satisfied with what we achieved today, even though of course, there is still margin of improvement that we can make. After the issues that we had in Malaysia where we didn’t know which direction to head towards and where we were struggling with the electronics, I wasn’t really optimistic. In Phillip Island we were able to improve and I ended the test in the top ten which is very important because it is where we need to be. Here, we were still not particularly strong on a single lap, but the most important thing is that I was one of the few riders who ran a race simulation and our rhythm was very strong. We were also able to finalise our tyre choice and the tyre that I used was good. In fact, we rode 2 laps more than race distance. The only inconvenience of the simulation was the interruption because of the red flag. However, when I pitted, we didn’t touch the bike at all and when I went out again, I was able to improve my time. Actually, I rode my fastest lap after having covered the full distance, which is something that I was never able to do with Bridgestone tyres, but with Michelin, I can. Therefore, I feel very comfortable and I am excited to start the season here in Qatar. Honestly, I expect the qualifying to be tricky for us, but on Sunday I am sure we will be able to do great things."
Position : 13th- Time : 1'55.966 - Laps : 114
"We closed the test positively today, but all in all the pre season 2016 has been quite different compared to other years. It’s been an interesting process where we’ve had to get used to the new tyres, as well as to judge their evolution because we’ve had some different front and rear tyre specs to evaluate. I must say that learning to adapt the bike to these different compounds has been a challenge. Some parts of the pre season have also been frustrating for me because of the time the weather took from us in Australia, and also the tyre situation a bit here in Qatar and as a result, we weren’t able to extract the maximum from the available testing time. Nevertheless, we are within touching distance of our target, which I think will be inside the top 8 this year. I still believe that we have a bike that’s only at 90% so there’s room to improve and we are always getting closer. Yet, going into the start of the season, I’m confident that we can do a good job. This evening’s test was positive as I improved my time quite a lot and we had consistent pace. Also, I was able to go out and ride quickly immediately which is something that I was struggling with on these tyres but I figured that one out today. I’m excited to complete the testing and finally get into racing mode as the competition brings out a bit of extra pressure which some people like and some don’t. For me, I like to be put under pressure and I feel I perform better in that way, so roll on the start of the season and FP1 in a few weeks’ time.”