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."


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."



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