The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pairing of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith optimistically aim to commence the second part of the year with two solid performances at Spielberg as the World Championship returns to Austria for the first time since 1997. The riders will battle at the rapid and undulating 4.3-kilometre venue that features three left corners and seven right. The track also has an altitude difference of 65 metres which promises a fast and spectacular 28 lap race on Sunday.
Pol Espargaro will seek to continue his impressive form in 2016 by following up his superb Suzuka 8 Hour victory with a strong finish in the round 10 Grand Prix. The young Spaniard currently holds the top satellite rider position in 6th in the championship standings and will look to consolidate this placement further. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith intends to get straight back into fight mode and begin the second half of the season with a notable result. The 25-year-old has experienced a challenging year so far but remains fully confident of his chances in the nine remaining MotoGP races.
Championship: 6th - Points: 72
"At last, the summer break is over and I can’t wait to get back on my Yamaha as I want to continue my quest to complete the year as the top satellite MotoGP rider. It has been a busy few weeks for me because I flew to Japan for the Suzuka 8 Hours event after Sachsenring. Of course, I am delighted about my work there with Alex Lowes and Katsuyuki Nakasuga in the Factory Yamaha Racing Team, where we succeeded in winning the event for the second consecutive year. It was even more emotional than last year, as it was my final Suzuka race for Yamaha, but this performance has given me more determination to push harder on my YZR-M1 in MotoGP. Yet, after that, I also managed to have a holiday and relax a bit before we head to Austria. The Spielberg track looks really fun to ride with its fast flowing nature and elevation changes. However, I think it will be very competitive GP due to the straights and no doubt, the Ducatis will have a slight advantage there. Nevertheless, we aim to hit the ground running and give it everything we’ve got in order to leave this race with a good result in our back pocket. I am looking forward to the challenge."
Championship: 16th - Points: 35
"The three-week break was nice for me and although I had some time to wind down, it wasn’t for very long as I trained hard to be ready to get back to where I need to be in the second half of the season. This year has been tough at times, yet I am confident that I can turn it around, just like I did in 2014, and close my final year with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team in a positive way. I am certain that our good fortune will start in Austria and even though I think it will be very tight in the race, I am highly motivated for the battle. I have done a lot of preparation for this track and with the fast flowing corners, it will be fun to ride on my Yamaha YZR-M1. The GP will be long with 28 laps, but I am excited to sample the track on my MotoGP bike after sampling the layout on a Yamaha R1 recently."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“I hope that everyone in the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team enjoyed a relaxing time on their summer breaks but now it’s time to head back to work so we can carry on our goal which is seeing both boys seal strong results in the remaining events. Firstly, I want to congratulate Pol on his fantastic effort in Japan for the Suzuka 8 Hours race and it is impressive that he helped the Factory Yamaha Racing Team win again. For sure, this will give him a lift for what will be a challenging GP for us in Austria. He has produced some solid performances this year, such as four top six finishes and he is doing a great job at keeping the satellite riders, and some of the factory guys, behind him in the championship. So, here we hope that he can end up inside the top eight. As for Brad, I am certain that he can get back on track in Austria. Without a doubt, he will have worked hard in the summer, as he usually does, and we know that he will be eager to get back to business and clinch the results he wants. Therefore, I expect him to finish in a similar position to his teammate, and hopefully as the leading satellite rider or as close as possible to it. It will be a new adventure for us, but we are all keen to experience Spielberg and we will do our best to give the riders everything they need.”