Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Bradley Smith produced a strong showing to finish the round six battle at the meandering Mugello circuit in 7th place aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The British star undertook a superb start and shot from the head of the third row on the grid up to 3rd by the time he entered the first corner as he fought with the leading MotoGP bikes. He quickly stuck into his rhythm but got shuffled back yet remained composed and reignited his campaign to move back up the field by setting a series of consistent lap times. He reclaimed 8that the midpoint of the race and continued to make advances forward with his target being the factory Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro who he slotted past on lap 15. The 25 year old powered onwards and comfortably opened a gap to the pursuing riders before speeding across the finish line only 13.340 seconds behind the leading bike. The result sees him successfully clinch a return to the top independent team position.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team pit box, Pol Espargaro suffered a tricky race as he met the chequered flag in 15th despite his best efforts after unfortunately falling and then re-joining the GP. The young Spaniard began the Grand Prix from the middle of the fifth row, but he was unluckily pushed wide on the opening lap and dropped back to 15th. Yet, he remained fully focused and started his quest to jump back up the field, moving up three places with just under a third of total distance having been completed. However, a mistake two laps later caused Espargaro to fall but he bravely remounted and determinedly closed the gap to the final point scoring position, which he claimed on lap 17. Nevertheless, the current leader in the independent standings will seek to make amends at the next MotoGP event, the Monster Energy sponsored Gran Premio de Cataluña, his home race.


Bradley Smith

Position: 7th - Championship: 12th - Points: 29

Bradley Smith - 2016


"I am very happy to finally be the top independent rider plus back to where I need to be. I worked on my starts all weekend and we did way more practice than usual but it looks like it paid off! I pulled down the left-hand side and as a result, I was third as we entered the first corner. Yet, to be really honest, I didn't have such a great pace at the beginning but I aimed to stay as close as possible to the guys in front plus not make any mistakes because I knew that my pace would be better later on. Therefore, I tried to look after the tyres as best as I could and remain consistent. All weekend we felt good and we modified the bike a little bit from Le Mans even though I was already pleased with the feeling. Thirteen seconds behind the leader at the end of the event is a strong result for us and shows that we have worked in the right direction. Petrucci tried to fight me in the last laps but I had a little bit left in the reserve tank so I just went for it in the final part. It has taken us until the sixth round to get to where we were last year, which is quite a long time but we have plenty more races to go to make up the points we lost at the start of the season. Altogether I wasn’t as fast at adapting to the Michelin tyres when compared to some of the other riders, but we can see that we are getting there and I'm confident, plus looking forward to the next round."

Profil


Pol Espargaro

Position: 15th - Championship: 7th  - Points: 48

Pol Espargaro - 2016


"We had the speed over the entire weekend but we just weren't able to score the result that we needed to today. The team and I had to face quite a few difficulties at this event, but with regards to the race, if you start from that far behind, you have to either pass a lot of riders really quickly or any hope of a good finish is gone. I tried to overtake as much as I could at the beginning but as a result. I had some contact with other riders which caused me to lose a lot of time in the initial laps. I saw that the group in front was getting away from me so I pushed harder and caught up to Pirro. However, the Ducati’s are strong at this track, so it takes that bit extra to pass them. In the end, I ended up braking a bit too late when I tried to overtake him and I ran off the asphalt. I fell but I was able to pick up the bike and finish the race. We will leave Italy with only one point in our pocket, which is not at all what we aimed for but at least it’s something. Next up is my home GP in Montmelo where I fully intend to do a much better job and seal a great result in front of my home fans."

Profil


Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:


“What a weekend we have just had in Mugello. The conditions were ideal for racing and it really is a super feeling to see MotoGP getting more and more popular. The crowd was amazing and it goes without saying that this event was special. I am very happy to see Bradley back to where he was last year which is where he wants to be. He had a strong qualifying, plus a great race and he was the top independent rider both times, which means a lot. The gap to the winner in the GP was small and a lot less than what it used to be for us, which is also important. Brad managed to keep all the satellite Ducati’s behind him which was not easy here and in the second part of the Grand Prix he was lapping very close to Viñales’ times. Bradley did a top job and I want to thank him for this. On the other hand, I am really sorry and disappointed for Pol because he had a good pace as well as rhythm this weekend but he crashed twice when it was not necessary. In Q1 he was fast and could have easily made it into Qualifying 2 and seized a grid position on the second row. Still, today I think his start was not ideal but he showed what he could do as he was catching the group in front so he would have been quite close to Bradley but he unfortunately crashed again. He made too many mistakes during this weekend, but anyway I want to thank him because he picked the bike up and got a point. What I want at the next Grand Prix is for both of our riders to finish strongly, unlike the last two GP’s. It would be fantastic for them to end up where they belong which for me is first and second in the independent classifications. Thanks to the whole team who worked hard and lets see what happens in Cataluña.”

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Bradley Smith will begin his challenge to score a strong result in Italy from the middle of the third row of the grid after a thorough effort in the highly competitive qualifying session today. The 25-year-old delivered a strong performance in the morning and posted a lap time that was almost 1.7 seconds quicker than his best from yesterday, which saw him seal 7th in FP3. This allowed him to instantly progress through to QP2 and here, he immediately launched into gear. The young Briton eventually posted a personal best on his last lap, which saw him claim the top satellite position and his time was just half a second from the head of the second row. Tomorrow he will aim to repeat his performance of 5th from last year and finish as close as possible to the factory MotoGP riders.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro gave his all today at Mugello but suffered bad luck after falling in Q1 and will start tomorrow’s round six battle from the fifth row. The young Spaniard got straight to work as soon as FP3 began, yet, he unfortunately fell half way through the session. Espargaro determinedly remounted, however, despite his best efforts on his second bike, he could not reach the top ten and therefore had to contest in QP1. Here, he shot to a highly impressive time of 1’47.159 only five minutes into the session, which was his quickest lap of the weekend. The 25-year-old embarked on cutting his time further but whilst running a pace that was 0.4 of a second quicker than before, he fell at turn 10. His top time from Q1 would have placed him sixth in the second qualifying shootout but nevertheless, he remains fully determined about powering to a solid finish in tomorrow’s GP.


Bradley Smith

Position: 8th - Time: 1'47.247 - Laps: 9

Bradley Smith - 2016


"I am really pleased to clinch the top independent position today and we’re on for a good race tomorrow if we keep our heads down. We certainly took advantage of the situation even though it was very competitive because some of the top riders ended up in QP1 and didn’t get out of it. Therefore, I’m happy that we got through to qualifying two via a good performance in FP3. I have to be satisfied with the end result because so far in 2016, it’s been challenging in both the qualifying and in the race. Yet, in Le Mans I feel that the team and I improved quite a lot but unfortunately I made a mistake in the race there. However, we’ve learnt from our mistakes and it worked here. We played around with tyres a bit too much in FP4 so initially in QP2 I wasn’t as quick as I should have been, but we made the right choice for the final run. There are plenty of positives but I want to be in the top independent position in 24 hours time. We know that tomorrow will be hot and as I was able to test all of the tyres today, I have quite a clear plan about which compound to use. There are still a few small refinements to make, but the plan for the race is to get a good start and then try to remain with the factory guys for as long as possible, and then we will see what happens at the end of the GP."

Profil


Pol Espargaro

Position: 14th - Time: 1'47.159 - Laps: 4

Pol Espargaro - 2016


"It has been quite a tricky day for us and although we couldn’t reap the rewards of our labour, I remain upbeat for tomorrow’s race. This morning I was experimenting with the three different front compounds and with one particular tyre, I didn’t feel too comfortable and I ended up falling. During the free practice we were trying a different tyre and for some reason, it was sliding a lot. However, we found out during qualifying, when we used the same compound, that this tyre was a single case as the other one worked really well. With this, the bike was back to it's normal behaviour and I felt comfortable again. Regarding the result, this may sound strange, but even though we didn’t pass through to QP2, I am pleased because our performance was strong and our race pace is solid. The crash in qualifying one was completely my fault and there are no excuses, but at least I had the pace. Of course, we can't change the situation now, but to know that I would have been on the second row with my time from QP1 fills me with confidence for tomorrow’s race."

Profil

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro began his round six campaign by positively finishing the opening day of action in 10th position at the meandering Mugello circuit. This morning, the young Spaniard decided to wait for drier conditions before attempting a fast lap, with only half the field posting lap times on the partially damp track. Nevertheless, when the dry afternoon session started, the 25-year-old quickly got up to speed as he initiated in setting up his Yamaha YZR-M1. During the practice, Espargaro built up his pace before posting his personal best on his 16th lap, which left him only 0.225 back from third position and therefore highly optimistic for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith battled the iconic circuit and concluded the opening day in 15th as he adjusted the base setup of his MotoGP bike for Sunday’s 23 lap sprint. The young Briton launched into action this morning as he gained valuable data in case of further rain this weekend, before finishing the opening practice in 4th whilst using the intermediate Michelin tyres. In FP2, he lunged forward immediately and consistently progressed before setting his best time on the penultimate lap. The positive initial conclusions from the opening shakedown leaves Smith fully confident of lowering his lap time tomorrow and sealing a top tier grid position for the round six fight.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 10th- Time: 1'48.470 - Laps: 18

Pol Espargaro - 2016


"Today has been a solid start to the weekend, even if our position is quite far behind in tenth. However, the lap time itself is not that bad because we are just 0.3 of a second from Jorge and 0.2 from Valentino which is acceptable after only one practice session. Also, the times are so close that an improvement of a couple of tenths could mean that you end up in fourth position. Yet, we need to be able to run these times alone, more consistently as well as more comfortably and this seems to be our issue at the moment. However, my positive feeling from the test in Jerez and also from Le Mans stays the same, and we are just suffering quite a lot on this track due to the strong engine characteristics of the Ducati MotoGP bikes. This makes it challenging to stay with them at this high-speed circuit. Nevertheless, I am still very positive for Sunday because of last year’s 6th place finish where I was able to fight for the entire race."

Profil


Bradley Smith

Position: 15th - Time: 1'49.199 - Laps: 30

Bradley Smith - 2016


"This morning the conditions were mixed, so it was the perfect chance for us to try the new intermediate tyres that Michelin brought here. I think that most of the riders who tested them had something positive to say. In terms of safety and options for riders, it’s good to have the intermediates available because it will prevent us from having to use a rain tyre on a dry track and vice versa. Already, it seems that the option they brought here is a good step up from the version that I tested in Sepang and I am happy to see that. This afternoon, we had a small technical issue with bike one, which meant that we had to run with my second bike. Initially, the setting felt ok so we tried some rear shock settings and we needed to confirm the information from Le Mans to ensure that we’re going in the right direction. I’m pleased to say that, for me, the positive factors from the last GP remain and are working well here. The lap time is not the best at the moment and it seems that we’re struggling mainly in sector three plus, a little bit in the other areas too. Therefore, we need to focus tonight and try to make a better bike for tomorrow in order to be able to ride consistently in the 48’s, but I am confident we can achieve this."

Profil

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