Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro bolted into action during the first day of the Austrian GP and finished in 13th as he battled the rapid Spielberg circuit for the first time. The young Spaniard wasted no time in getting up to speed, despite having to learn the new venue on the 2016 MotoGP calendar. Nevertheless, he completed 25 laps in FP1, the joint highest number in the session, and ended the practice with a personal best that was only a second from the front. His progression continued in the afternoon as he carried on taking steps forward in preparation for Sunday. The 25-year-old upped his pace and eventually powered to a time that was just over half a second from 5th, marking a solid close to the opening day. The current leading satellite rider in the championship standings will seek to maintain his momentum tomorrow and clinch a top tier grid position for the 28-lap shootout.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 pit box, Bradley Smith began his round 10 campaign with a determined effort aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 as he prepares for the first race on Austrian soil since 2007. The 25-year-old started his day by concluding the opening practice behind his teammate by only 0.115, as he grew accustomed to the undulating circuit on a MotoGP bike. In the afternoon, Smith relentlessly completed 27 laps as he focused on setting up his Yamaha for the GP and he finished with a lap time that was just one second from Word Champion, Jorge Lorenzo. The young Briton eyes up tomorrow with optimism as he confidently intends to undertake a positive qualifying performance.

Pol Espargaro

Position: 13th - Time: 1'25.221 - Laps: 47


Pol Espargaro - 2016"It's nice to be back on my M1 after the summer break and personally, I like the layout of the circuit a lot. It's fun to ride, flowing and the grip level is really high. There are a few critical points on the track and it's very fast, but it's definitely different to the places where we usually go racing and that makes it special. Having said that, I'm convinced that we didn't show our true potential today, as I still don't know the layout enough and I'm lacking some references. Therefore, I occasionally missed my braking points, especially after having put on new tyres. I felt a bit nervous on the bike and for sure my fastest lap time is quite far from where we could have been, yet the gap to the factory guys isn't too big and we have a lot of margin of improvement to make. It was very helpful to follow some other riders today and this was mainly what I tried to do in order to quickly obtain as much information as possible. After two sessions we now have a good base for the weekend and I'm looking forward to getting more laps under my belt tomorrow, plus I'm sure we will climb up in the rankings."


Bradley Smith

Position: 17th - Time: 1'25.941 - Laps: 50


 Bradley Smith - 2016"I am happy to be working with the guys again and back racing after the summer break. With regards to our performance today, it’s clear to see that we have a bit more work to do and I’m a bit disappointed. I have to admit that we also didn’t make a big enough change in between the practice sessions which meant that it wasn’t possible to lower the lap time as much as the other guys. I think tyre life is going to be one of the main issues here this weekend. A lot of riders did short sprints today, but this afternoon I put in two fairly decent long runs and the endurance of the tyres seems to be a continuing issue. I’m a bit worried, and even more so if the temperature keeps on rising for the rest of the weekend, however, let's see what happens. It goes without saying that we want to improve our one lap pace, yet right now the sensible option is to try and work on something for the race distance. That is what we tried to do today, and we have some more work to do but I’m sure we can get closer to where we want to be tomorrow."



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