Smith Picks Up Pace
by staff
Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Tech 3 Yamaha rookie Bradley Smith is proving this week in Sepang his speed was worthy of a promotion to the premier class, as he climbed to eighth overall on the time sheets Wednesday.

Smith was just six-tenths behind experienced teammate Cal Crutchlow and 1.4 seconds off the pace of leader Dani Pedrosa of Repsol Honda. Smith also was quicker than the Ducati factory bikes of Nick Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso. He sliced a healthy 1.5 seconds Wednesday off his best time from Tuesday, triple the improvement of his teammate.

Many questions surrounded Smith entering this test. He never won a Moto2 race and stood on just three intermediate-class podiums in the last two seasons. Yet he earned a promotion to Tech 3's Grand Prix team after the 2011 season, causing many to wonder why team boss Herve Poncharal would take a chance on the Brit instead of proven race winners such as Scott Redding, Pol Espargaro and others.

Smith has started to answer the doubters this week in Malaysia. Of course, that his crewchief is Guy Coulon, might be a factor in this early success.

"Today's performance and the final lap times makes me feel really happy, but I am not going to get carried away," Smith said Wednesday. "I am happy with the job I have done and to be so fast on such a long and technical track is great for my confidence.

"But I know reducing the gap to the leading group will be very difficult. There's still a long way to go, but it is nice to be so much faster than yesterday and to see some real progress. It never feels easy on these bikes and you don't get time to rest, but when it becomes more like your friend, then you start making steps forward."


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