Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro got straight on the pace in the Netherlands and closed day one with a positive performance. The young Spaniard began strongly and after completing the first shake down laps, he quickly set about adjusting his Yamaha YZR-M1 to the iconic Assen circuit. He impressively finished the FP1 in 3rd, with a lap time that was a mere 0.074 from the position in front, which left him highly confident for the afternoon. Here, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion carried on his efforts and with rain expected tomorrow morning, he pushed and determinedly posted a best time on his penultimate lap that left him only half a second from the top. Espargaro now optimistically looks on to the all-important qualifying shootout at the Cathedral of Speed.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 pit box, Bradley Smith concluded a solid opening day at the historic Dutch circuit for the 8th round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship. The 25-year-old instantly jumped into action when the morning session kicked off and he started the initial work as he looks to seal a strong placement in Sunday’s Grand Prix. He finished in 9th with a time that was only 0.269 behind his teammate. Then, when Free Practice 2 commenced, the Briton continued his tireless work as he made adjustments to the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 and also made progress with the Michelin tyres as he gathered information for his race choice. He eventually completed 21 laps, setting his best time on the penultimate one and now he confidently awaits the second day of action at the Motul TT Assen.

Pol Espargaro

Position: 9th - Time: 1'34.163 - Laps: 36

Pol Espargaro - 2016

"I am very pleased overall with the first day at Assen, because the times were competitive throughout both sessions and I finished only half a second from the front, plus, just 0.1 from Jorge. I enjoy riding at this track and my feeling this morning, when we started, was positive straight away. Then, at the beginning of FP2, we had to try some tyre options in order to have a clear idea about which way to go this weekend. Initially I didn’t feel too comfortable on the hard compound of rear tyre, so we tried another one but it was the same, which means the hard compound won’t be our choice. At the end of the FP2, it felt like a qualifying session as the forecast for tomorrow is not ideal so it was important to finish inside the top ten. There were a lot of fast guys outside the cut off point for QP2 so to end up where I did means that I can have a better rest tonight as I am through to Qualifying 2 even if the rain falls tomorrow. There, I plan to be strong and continue the good form in the Netherlands."


Bradley Smith

Position: 14th - Time: 1'34.531 - Laps: 40

Bradley Smith - 2016"The opening day at the Motul TT Assen has been quite encouraging and I am satisfied with what we accomplished as I was inside the top ten throughout the day, which is positive for us. Yet, unfortunately we didn’t undertake the best strategy for FP2 in terms of the scoring a fast lap time. Instead, we focused more on setting the bike up for the race and trying to improve my feeling, which seems to be good here, so we wanted to take advantage of this. Having said that, I’m a little disappointed to end up in 14th because we had the potential to finish inside the top ten today, which would have been useful in case of bad weather tomorrow. Anyway I have to acknowledge the positives, and overall, this is probably one of the better starts that we’ve had so far this season on a Friday. The guys and I worked really well as a team and all day we focused on trying to improve the rear setting of the bike and now we have a good plan for the rest of the weekend. We were able to try the soft and medium compounds of front tyre as well as the soft and hard rear options so now we have a clear indication of the direction which way we will follow this weekend."



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