Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Bradley Smith produced a spirited performance in qualifying today after working relentlessly to turn around his fortunes in Texas. The 25-year-old began the day by carrying on his efforts as he fought his way around the physical and meandering circuit before finishing with a time that meant he would contest in QP1. Here, he got straight up to speed and posted an impressive lap that was over a second quicker than his personal best in FP3. The strong time marked a significant improvement for Smith who worked closely with his team in preparation of the following 15-minute shootout. When it commenced, the Briton continued where he left off and eventually powered to a time that will see him begin the Grand Prix from the middle of the fourth row. The 2015 fastest satellite rider now has his sights set on sealing a top tier finish in tomorrow’s 21 lap race.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Pol Espargaro came agonisingly close to competing in QP2 twice, but just fell short after giving his all in two highly competitive MotoGP sessions. The young Spaniard kicked off his day by further adjusting the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 during FP3 and he missed out on the cut off to QP 2 by a blink of an eye and a mere 0.014 of a second. When the first qualifying practice commenced, Espargaro leapt forward and quickly set about speeding to a top lap. After pushing non-stop, he closed the session with a time that was just 0.018 from second, meaning that he will start the third round of the MotoGP World Championship from the head of the 5th row on the starting grid. Nevertheless, Espargaro intends to fight all the way to the chequered flag with the aim to join his teammate in the battle for the top independent rider position.

Bradley Smith

Position : 11th - Time : 2'04.988 - Laps : 7

Bradley Smith - 2016

"Firstly, I have to give a big thanks to the team because they didn’t pause from working throughout today and they never stopped believing in me or the direction that I wanted to go towards regarding the feeling of the bike. Without their efforts, it wouldn’t have been possible so again, I must thank them. Yesterday we made a few big adjustments and still struggled. However, step by step we’ve now come back to where we need to be due to our work in the third and fourth practice sessions today. Of course, I still believe that we can improve further tomorrow and we have a good chance to do this in the warm up as well as later in the race. I feel a lot more positive with the bike that I now have underneath me for the GP. Yet, having said that we still need to make a decision regarding the tyre choice, because we were working so hard on the setting of the bike that we didn’t decide on the tyres. It’s a fantastic result by my team and I’m really pleased with this position so now I look forward to seeing what we can achieve in the race.”


Pol Espargaro

Position : 13th - Time : 2'04.867 - Laps : 6

Pol Espargaro - 2016

"The day ended in a disappointing way and of course, I’m not satisfied with the result and how things went. It’s strange because overall we managed to improve the bike and the feelings with the new harder rear tyre were positive. Yet, from FP3 onwards we started to experience some vibrations, which we weren’t able to solve today. Nevertheless, even if it was tricky to ride, I pushed as much as I possibly could in all of the sessions. In the morning, I just missed QP2 by 0.014 in the final seconds of the session and to be honest, this was quite frustrating. Afterwards, we experienced the same issues in FP4 and again in Qualifying 1. There, I really gave it everything I had and risked crashing out in every braking area, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to go to QP2 and once more, I missed out by only a small margin of 0.018. To start from the fifth row complicates the race a bit because the first corner is critical. In fact, I had a problem here at the beginning of the GP last year where another rider crashed into me and I couldn’t do anything about it. Anyway, this afternoon we will have to work to find a solution to our issue and I think that if we turn the situation around we have a good chance of riding to a decent result. Also, we still have to decide which rear tyre we want to use because at the moment we don’t have a clear indication. The soft is too soft for the 21 laps and with the hard one we can be more consistent but this kind of tyre makes us lose a few tenths every lap. So we have some work to do, but I am determined to finish the Grand Prix as well as I possibly can tomorrow."



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