Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith got off to a promising start in the land of the rising sun by completing the opening day of practice in 5th position overall. The 24 year old immediately got to grips with his Yamaha YZR-M1 at the demanding stop and go Twin Ring Motegi Circuit in FP1. After undertaking the initial shakedown laps, he got stuck into the preparation of his race setup for the 24 lap sprint on Sunday. As the chequered flag was waved, the British rider sped across the line with a time of 1’45.888, leaving him in 4th and merely 0.061 behind the second placed bike. When the afternoon session commenced, Smith continued to make adjustments to his setup and he also evaluated the tyre life of the softer rear compound. In the end, he concluded a total of 17 laps and impressively set a personal best of 1’45.250 which left him in 5th whilst using the harder rear tyre. This performance sees the Briton begin his weekend in Japan positively and he will now be seeking to clinch a strong grid position tomorrow as he aims to finish Motul Grand Prix of Japan in the leading satellite bike position.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro started the round 15 of the 2015 World Championship with a run to 9th place overall. The Spaniard, who holds fond memories of racing in Japan after winning the Suzuka 8 hour race this year and also celebrating his 2013 Moto2 World Title at the Motegi circuit, got straight to work as he started his assault. After making the initial modifications to his base setup of the Yamaha YZR-M1, the 24 year old completed the opening session positively and in 9th with a time of 1’46.323. In the afternoon, he continued his preparation work with further steps forward being made and Espargaro completed the session in 9th with a top lap of 1’45.597, just over three tenths of a second behind his teammate. Tomorrow, he will line up for the all important qualifying session full of confidence as he aims to grab a solid grid position at Yamaha’s 60th anniversary home Grand prix.

Bradley Smith Bradley Smith
Position : 5th Time : 1’45.250 Laps : 36
“Firstly, I enjoy coming to Motegi because it is always good fun due to the Japanese fans and seeing the amount of passion that they have for MotoGP. With regards to today, things were very positive for us on track. We did a really good job with making the bike as stable as possible which was our main focus today because this is very important here due to the circuit’s hard braking points. In addition, we were able to run a lot of laps on the soft rear tyre and with the modifications we made, I am quite confident that we will have a good pace at the end of the race on Sunday. Overall, I am very pleased as my time put me in 5th, and I am especially happy as I completed that lap whilst I was using the harder rear tyre, so this shows that both compounds are working well. For tomorrow, the main aim is to work more with the softer rear option because I believe that this will be the race choice so we will continue in that direction in order to be able to close Yamaha’s home Grand prix with a strong result.” 
Pol Espargaro Pol Espargaro
Position : 9th Time : 1’45.597 Laps : 28
“It was a bit of a tricky opening day for me at Motegi and we struggled in a few areas, but I am certain that we can turn everything around for the vital qualifying session tomorrow. Our biggest issue is that there was a low grip level and when this happens, we suffer more than most. Having said that, we managed to undertake some good work and we have a direction to work towards tomorrow. Moreover, we will now check the other Yamaha’s data in order to understand where we can make up a few more tenths. The lap time itself is a solid base to start from, yet it is further back compared to where I want to be. However we have still two more days and I am fully confident that we can get to where we need to be in Sunday’s Japanese GP.”

About The Author

Myanna Wedes

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.