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."


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."



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