Bradley Smith says he has not been surprised to see fellow rookie Marc Marquez make such a fast and seamless transition to MotoGP in 2013.
Marquez has made an instant impact on Honda’s factory RC213V and the highlight of an impressive winter testing campaign came when the Spaniard beat teammate Dani Pedrosa, reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo and Italian icon Valentino Rossi in a private test at the new Circuit of the Americas in Texas earlier this month.
Smith, who will partner Cal Crutchlow in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad this season, said while it is now easier for a newcomer to get to grips with the 1000cc MotoGP bikes and Bridgestone tyres, Marquez’s off-season performances are still very impressive.
The Oxfordshire rider, who has raced Marquez at close quarters in the Moto2 world championship, told MCN: “Marc and I have come into a fortunate position where the bikes are already dialled in. The 1000cc is in its third year of generation, and the tyres have improved again, because we’re seeing less of the cold tyre high-side moments.
So we’ve found ourselves jumping on already dialled in race projects, and obviously if you have the talent to ride a motorcycle, and you have the confidence he’s got, I don’t think it’s as tricky as it’s been in the past to jump in if that makes sense.
But by all means to be able to be fast like he was in Texas and to be mixing it up inside the top three all of the time, that’s all very impressive. I don’t know whether people can be surprised because the guy quite clearly dominated in Moto2 and even in 125s”
Smith said it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the job Marquez is doing on a factory bike considering the impact the likes of Pedrosa, Lorenzo and now retired Aussie Casey Stoner made when they moved to MotoGP.
Pedrosa was second on his MotoGP debut in 2006 and won in his fourth outing in China. Lorenzo grabbed pole position in his first three races in 2008 and won at the third attempt in Estoril. Stoner meanwhile took pole position on a satellite Honda for LCR in Qatar back in 2006 and was second in only his third race in Turkey.
Smith added: “This is what happens with the new generation. Pedrosa when he first came into MotoGP was quite similar. He was battling for the championship in his first year. Also Casey put it on pole in his second meeting, so we can’t be surprised.
It’s a natural progression when you are that good. If you’re a world champion and if all things are correct, you’re able to adapt quite quickly. I think everyone’s quick to remember the recent people that have made the transition, and unfortunately that’s what’s expected like a top six position and maybe push for a podium in your first year.
But these exceptional talents like, Casey, Dani, Lorenzo and Marquez are the exception to the rules and they can just walk onto any motorcycle and make it go fast.”
For more from Smith in a 16-page guide to the 2013 MotoGP campaign, see the April 3 issue of MCN.