Bradley Smith reckons the initial target in his rookie MotoGP campaign will be to finish ahead of Ducati’s factory Desmosedici.
But the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider hopes to be fighting for the top six before the end of his first season taking on the likes of Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.
The British rider finished behind GP13 duo Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden in the last two test sessions in Sepang and Jerez but says the Italian and American will be on his radar when the new season gets underway in Qatar this weekend.
Smith MCN: “I think the main objective for us at the moment is to try and stay in front of the factory Ducati’s. Obviously they are making good development and we saw good improvements at the second Sepang test, but I’d like to still remain ahead of them. And then as the season goes on see to if we can start making inroads into (Alvaro) Bautista and (Stefan) Bradl.
Obviously we know that they are on factory packages, so that’s a little bit different to what it’s been in the past, but all being said I think that’s got to be the target. But it will be a tough one even just to stay ahead of Ducati and that includes (Andrea) Iannone and (Ben) Spies because they have similar packages to the factory boys, so staying in front of them and while there making steps forward is going to be tough.
But that’s got to be the objective. I suppose staying inside the top eight would be a huge goal and pushing for a top six after the summer break. That’s got to be something to aim for and something I’d be happy with.”
For a 16-page guide to the 2013 MotoGP world championship, see the April 3 issue of MCN.