This just in from Tech 3:
Smith and Espargaro within the top 3 on the opening day
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team's Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro continued their impressive pre-season today at the Losail Circuit, Qatar. This week's test, in which only the Satellite and Open Class MotoGP riders are attending, marks the final testing session before the start of the MotoGP season on the 23rd of March.
Young British rider Bradley Smith's tireless efforts, established himself as the 2nd quickest MotoGP rider today in Qatar. He completed 53 laps of the circuit, and sent a reminder to the top MotoGP riders of his intentions this season. Although the track was initially dirty and lacked traction, it later cleared and the grip improved. This allowed the young British rider to complete today's session with a fastest lap of 1:55.639 which was 0.253 of a second off the leading time.
Reigning Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro again furthered his impressive transition from the intermediate class to the top category. Completing 62 laps, the young Spanish rider worked relentlessly, together with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, in getting as much track time as possible before the opening round later this month. Having only ridden the Yamaha YZR-M1 at Sepang this year, the change of location to Qatar and the cooler conditions allowed him to expand his knowledge of the MotoGP bike and ride more comfortably. Espargaro set a best time of 1:56.072, and finished the session in 3rd place, only 0.686 of a second off the quickest lap time.
The next testing session commences tomorrow at 16:00 until 23:00 at the Losail Circuit, Qatar (local time - GMT +3).
Bradley Smith- 1:55.639 - 2nd:
"Today was a good day. I am happy that the base setup worked immediately here, which means we did a good job in Sepang and so, we didn't have to make many changes. The track condition was better than I expected and after an hour the track was in much better shape, which is positive as it means we can have a good test here. It was a bit frustrating to be fastest for nearly the whole day, and then getting passed so close to the end, but there are still two days to go. Tomorrow we will try bike 1 and bike 2 and make a few more changes. I am really happy with the setup as it is, but I want to make sure it is the right way, and that's why we need to play with the geometry of the bike a little more. I will definitely do the race simulation on the last day, and possibly another one tomorrow too."
Pol Espargaro - 1:56.072 - 3rd:
"I am very happy with how today went, as it was my first time here on a MotoGP bike. I am pleased to be riding somewhere other than Sepang, as it allows me to explore the bike more. There is still a lot to learn, and the main aim during the next 2 days is to make me ride a bit smoother as this is how the Yamaha goes fast. I am still fighting a bit too much with the bike, but I need to become one with it, which is what I am going to work on. Overall, the bike worked well today and the team helped me a lot with adapting to this circuit so quickly."