Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith head to the Australian Grand Prix full of confidence and ready to battle, fresh from competing at the Motegi round last weekend. Both riders seek to complete the second back to back flyaway event solidly at the world famous Phillip Island circuit, which has produced many memorable duels over the years.

Pol Espargaro determinedly intends to seal the top independent riders honours in Sunday’s race aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1, after achieving 6th at the previous GP in what was his 50th Grand Prix with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team. The 25-year-old currently sits in 8th in the World Championship standings and will be aiming to close the deficit to the leading satellite rider, by finishing as close as possible to the factory MotoGP riders in southern Australia.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith returns to the scene of his debut premier class podium in 2014, and he will seek to undertake another brave performance in Australia following his comeback in Japan after being forced to sit out three Grand Prix’s due to a severely damaged knee. The British rider showed incredible resilience at the previous round and he courageously defied expectations by concluding the Motegi showdown in 13th, despite being limited by his injury. He resolutely targets completing the GP in the best possible position on Sunday in what will be another demanding race for him whilst he continues his recovery progress

Pol Espargaro

Championship: 8th - Points: 106


Pol Espargaro - 2016"I’m looking forward to the Australian Grand Prix as always because I enjoy riding at the Phillip Island track a lot. It’s a special place for me and I probably rode the best GP of my life there in the intermediate class, where I finished almost 20 seconds ahead of second place. Last year, our performance wasn’t too impressive, but to be honest, the whole season was quite challenging. Yet, I am really confident that this time will be better because my 2016 campaign has been much more positive. The main ambition for the weekend is to put as much pressure as possible on Cal, who is ahead of me in the championship. He is also the leader in the independent rider battle, and it is still my goal to win that fight by the end of the year. Therefore, I will give it my all and I can’t wait to get to get going in Australia."


Bradley Smith

Championship: 17th - Points: 45


Bradley Smith - 2016"Phillip Island is a unique circuit and completely different in nature to Motegi, but I am excited for the challenge and I will do my best, as usual. The high-speed demand of the track will be tricky, because, even though there are not as many corners as some other rounds, it is still quite physical. In addition, the cooler conditions that we get at this time of the year make racing a bit more complicated for MotoGP riders. However, I will go there with an open mind, and I hope that we can work in the same way that we did in Japan, in order to build up our pace over the weekend. Moreover, in the next few days, I will be off the bike and I am positive that my knee will improve a bit so that I can be better and stronger for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team."


Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:


“Next up is the Australian Grand Prix at the iconic Phillip Island circuit and once again, the team will do everything they can in order to allow Brad and Pol to fight to two solid finishes. The guys both had good results in Motegi. Pol did his best all weekend long and completed the demanding race in 6th, whilst Bradley returned to us after his injury and ended the GP in 13th, and his resilience impressed us all. Therefore, we hope that these performances will boost the boys even more for Phillip Island. For Pol, we expect him to be challenging for the top independent position so that he can cut the gap to Cal Crutchlow in the satellite championship battle and we are fully confident that he can do this. As for Brad, he will have a bit of time in-between the races and we are sure that his knee will improve slightly for the GP, therefore, we hope that he can conclude the weekend in a positive fashion. This event is special for the Tech3 team because we can’t forget that Bradley scored his first ever premier class rostrum in 2014. In addition, the incredible battle between the Tech3 riders, Shinya Nakano and Olivier Jacque, for the 250cc World Championship in 2000 was unforgettable and it still sends shivers down my spine. So let’s see what we can do at the beautiful Australian circuit.”


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