Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro clinched a strong 5th place finish at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 today. The young Spaniard launched off the front row of the grid and shot to the head of the field when the race started. Espargaro completed the first lap in 2nd and remained in this position until the 5th lap as he challenged Marc Marquez for the lead of the race. He was then shuffled back two places but the 25-year-old stayed firm as he carried on his formidable pace at the high-speed circuit. He eventually slipped back another position on the 12th lap, but he powered onwards and opened a comfortable gap to the 2015 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo who pursued him. From here, Espargaro lapped consistently before powering across the finish line in 5th, which marks a highly positive end to the weekend for the former Moto2 World Champion. He now sets his sights on closing the triple flyaway events with another top tier result at the Malaysian Grand Prix next week.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team pit box, Bradley Smith produced a courageous ride to complete his 100th Grand Prix with the Tech3 team in 8th, despite not racing at full fitness due to a complicated knee injury. The young British rider kicked off the Australian GP from 14th on the grid and got straight to work when the sprint began. After carefully navigating his way through the first lap, he crossed the line in 18th but he then confidently stuck into a solid rhythm as he looked to progress. His pace allowed him to glide past four riders and move into 14thafter one third of the distance. Smith continued to push and his hard work and faultless riding lap after lap paid off and he joined a pack of seven riders all fighting for 7th as the GP entered the final stage. After a frantic dash to the chequered flag, Smith defied all expectations by finishing in 8th, having impressively jumped up two positions on the last lap. The positive conclusion in Australia leaves the British rider fired up for the forthcoming Malaysian round as he continues his recovery process.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 5th - Championship: 8th - Points: 117


 

Pol Espargaro - 2016"Today I played all my cards and we have to leave Phillip Island feeling pleased about our performance over the weekend. The start itself was good and I put myself at the front of the field, plus I didn’t make any mistakes. In addition, I tried to brake smoothly and not take unnecessary risks throughout the GP. However, I can’t help but feel a bit frustrated when I think about how the factory riders passed me, whilst I was trying to fight with them, but I guess that’s how things go. Yet, I know that we gave our all and I have to say that the team is continuing to work in the same way that they did on our first day together, even if there are only a couple more races left together, and I appreciate that a lot. I think we were probably a bit lucky that there was limited dry track time this weekend because I believe this is why we were in front of a few factory guys today. However, looking at the results we have to be happy with what we are taking away from this GP and we will keep fighting for another strong result next week in Malaysia."

Profil


Bradley Smith

Position: 8th - Championship: 17th - Points: 53


 

Bradley Smith - 2016"First of all, I have to say that the result is very positive. It was definitely a lot of hard work and in the last few laps, I was fortunate enough to find some opening gaps which allowed me to finish in 8th. Initially, I was a bit disappointed with myself because I wasn’t aggressive enough at the start. This may have been because of my injury and perhaps I was over thinking a bit about what to do, plus I was very careful with warming up the tyres. However, once I found my rhythm, I was able to catch the group, even if it was a challenge to do this, and when I got onto the back of them, I just tried to be smart and save the tyres, because I knew that the rubber was going to be vital for the last three laps. I made a few passes in the closing stages of the race and then finally in the last corner, I just went full attack mode on the outside and I got some good grip which allowed me to beat Petrucci and Miller to the line. Once again, I have to say big thanks to the Tech3 team because they did a super job, especially after yesterday’s crash. Also, with the limited track time that we had in the dry, the guys were fantastic and gave me a solid setting. For the moment everything is going according to plan. We came back in Japan, then here, we went a little better, so now let’s see what Sepang brings."

Profil


Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:


 

“We knew it was going to be a tough race in the MotoGP class and for sure, it was. I think Pol undertook a brilliant start like he always does, but this time we could see it more clearly and it was a great feeling to see him leading the entire field. Unfortunately, Marc didn’t give him the chance to complete the whole lap, but Pol did very well behind him and they opened a gap. Yet, it became clear to see that he was not able to stay with Marc and the riders behind caught him up and after that, it was a really intense race. Nevertheless, I think Pol did a great job and his lap times were very consistent. He lost a few positions but the other riders around him had a better rhythm and maybe better equipment too. Anyway, we all have to be proud of what he has achieved this weekend. On the other hand, Bradley undertook a superb performance and we must remember that ten days ago, we didn’t even know if he was going to be able to take part. At the beginning, he took his time and tried to understand his package, as well as his physical condition. After that, Bradley was on a mission and he caught the group in front who were more than five seconds ahead of him. This was exciting to see as he took half a second each lap until he was there. Finally, Brad commenced the last lap in 10th, and he was incredible in the fourth sector before completing the race in 8th, which is far better than what we could have expected. Congratulations to him for his hard work, his dedication and his never give up attitude. To finish such a tricky weekend in 5th and 8th is fantastic when considering the poor weather and the track conditions that we had to face. Now we will move on to Sepang, the last of the three flyaway races, where we hope to repeat this result before we head back to Europe.”

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro will start the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from the front row of the grid after storming to third in qualifying today. The Spaniard got straight to work in the hour-long morning session, which was extended due to yesterday’s second practice being cut short because of the bad weather. Today, rain fell again midway through FP3 but Espargaro impressively went on to speed to 4th by the time the chequered flag fell. Then, in Q2, he leapt into life with his sights set on clinching a strong qualifying placement. After changing to slick tyres halfway through the session, he returned to the track and pushed on before eventually posting his personal best on his last lap in what was a nail-biting finish. His efforts saw him seize 3rd which marks his second front row qualifying result in the premier class and his first since Le Mans, 2014. Tomorrow the 25-year-old, who will begin the race as the leading Yamaha rider, will seek to take advantage of his notable grid position to claim the top independent rider honours.

On the other hand, Bradley Smith produced a brave effort to seal a fifth-row start for the round 16 fight tomorrow, which will be his 100th Grand Prix with the Tech3 Racing team. The 25-year-old commenced the day by battling against the mixed conditions in FP3, which he completed in 16th as the inconsistent rain continued to fall. Then, after positively building up to qualifying one by finishing FP4 in 9th, he got straight into gear when the 15-minute session got underway. Smith set a rapid time on his third lap whilst riding with wet tyres which left him inside the top two qualifying slots to get into Q2. However, after changing to intermediates, he was pushing to improve his time in the final moments of the session, but he unfortunately fell at turn 8. Luckily, the British star did not damage his already injured knee any further and now he confidently seeks to compete for the best possible result in tomorrow’s race.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 3rd - Time: 1'31.107 - Laps:9


 

Pol Espargaro - 2016"I am very happy with the qualifying result and it is a great feeling, but also a little bit strange to know that I will start on the front row! This weekend has not been easy with regards to the weather, but we always have to expect it to be like this here at Phillip Island. However, in qualifying, we were lucky because it didn’t rain and we were fast straight away. For sure, it’s risky to go out on slicks whilst the sky is dark and it looks like it could rain at any moment, but at the end of the day, we made the right choice at the right time and we got the front row. Of course, this does not mean that we will automatically finish in the top five tomorrow and I expect a tough fight, but today’s result is positive for us, the team and the sponsors. We did a good job and now we will have to see what we can do in the dry conditions tomorrow. We have only ridden a handful of laps in the dry, so it is really useful that the warm up has been extended, but anyway, I am delighted with today’s performance and I look forward to the race.."

Profil


Bradley Smith

Position: 14th - Time: 1'41.129 - Laps: 4


 

Bradley Smith - 2016"Today was another tricky day with the weather but the team did a great job and I did my best. I had a good feeling in the wet conditions during FP4 and also for the initial part of QP1. I felt comfortable and I decided to gamble as I thought that the intermediate tyres were the right ones to use in the final stages of qualifying one. Yet, unfortunately, because the clock was ticking down and due to the adrenalin also, I pushed a bit too hard on my out lap and crashed at turn 8. Luckily, I am ok, but I am disappointed that I made an error like that. Nevertheless, I am happy that I took the risk with the tyres because I knew there was a good chance that I could get into Q2. On the grid, I will be surrounded by fast riders so of course, they will be moving forward when the race starts and I hope to join them. We will try to make the best setting that we can in the next 24 hours in order to be as ready as possible because this race will be tough due to the lack of dry track time in the practice sessions. However, we will gain some information this afternoon, and I will also have a look at my teammate’s data who did a good job to get onto the front row."

Profil

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro battled against the torrid weather on the first day of the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix to finish in 7th overall. The round 16 weekend kicked off under constant rain at the Phillip Island circuit and Espargaro braved the cold and damp weather in FP1 as he collected valuable wet setup information. He completed the session in 7th, and he looked ahead to the afternoon. Here, however, after a delayed start to the session due to the increased rainfall, the Spaniard opted against taking to the asphalt because of the treacherous conditions. The practice was eventually cancelled, but nevertheless, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion will aim to get straight back to work in free practice 3 tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith endured a shortened first day of action in southern Australia and despite his eagerness to experience as much time on his Yamaha YZR-M1 as possible whilst he continues his recovery process, he wisely opted against running in the waterlogged FP2 session. The British star chose to sit out the majority of the morning practice, yet with under ten minutes remaining he jumped on his MotoGP bike and courageously completed several laps to get a feel for the high-speed circuit in the wet on this year’s Michelin tyres. However, due to his injured right knee, the 25-year-old only completed 7 laps in order to minimise any risks, but tomorrow he hopes for better weather in order to carry on his setup work ahead of the all-important qualifying shootout.


Pol Espargaro

Position: 7th - Time: 1'42.465 - Laps: 15


 

Pol Espargaro - 2016"Today has been complicated because of the weather, but we all know that the Phillip Island circuit is a unique place as it is so close to the ocean. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any track time during FP2 as there was too much water on the track, yet we had the whole practice this morning and I am pleased with our performance. I believe that today, the main aim for me was to get accustomed to the circuit again, which is what we did, plus my feeling with the bike was positive. Of course, we still have a margin of improvement to make and we didn’t try the supersoft tyre yet, as we don’t have many in our allocation, so we decided that it would be better to keep them for tomorrow. However, to finish day 1 inside the top 10 and not far from the top of the time sheets is a promising start to the weekend and we will work hard to improve even more in FP3."

Profil


Bradley Smith

Position: DNQ - Time: 1'49.008 - Laps: 7


Bradley Smith - 2016

"The first day in Phillip Island hasn’t been the best, but with these tough conditions, not only with the water, but also with the temperature at one of the fastest circuits in the world, racing can become quite dangerous so we had to play it safe. I completed a few laps this morning, but unfortunately, when I went out on the track, the weather took a turn for the worse and it was quite tricky. However, if we compare my times with the other riders who were out when I was, I can see that I was quite competitive. This afternoon, the weather got worse and there was a lot of water on the track. Even though the session was delayed and then eventually red flagged, I made my own decision to sit out that practice, and wait for tomorrow instead. I didn’t want to create any more stress or risk making my injury any worse, and I also want to keep a bit of extra power for the race on Sunday, which looks like it could be dry."

Profil

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