Smith growing in confidence with new setup

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A late crash couldn’t dent Bradley Smith’s confidence after the Englishman topped a practice for the first time since Catalunya last year. The Tech3 rider was in predictably high spirits after the session with small setup changes offering key improvements for him.

A new front fork, “to try to stop deforming the front tire and instead of being on the limit and it collapsing completely flat, you’ve got more leeway to play a little bit with it,” gave him plenty of confidence to push hard on the bike today and despite an unlucky crash at the end of the session he has his sights firmly set on being the top satellite rider this weekend.

“We gave finally got a set of front forks that allow me to brake where I want to brake,” said Smith. ” I tried those in Jerez in the test and that’s definitely a positive, especially around here. And also more understanding about electronics from what we learned from Jerez. We’re able to bring the concept here, not necessarily the same strategy, but the same concept.

“Basically, the biggest thing is making the bike turn. So even in the fast corners, just because it was fast corner or a slow corner, the idea is to keep the bike steady so you can go in as fast as you want to go in, and then get the bike to turn at the right point. So that’s basically what we are trying to achieve here.”

While the time set by Smith was impressive in isolation he felt that his pace was good today throughout his longer runs and that his rhythm was as good as anyone beside Marquez, Dovizioso and Lorenzo.

“They’re able to run high 1’33s, and mid 1’33s. Really, from the Yamaha point of view, there’s not much more we can do. We’re maxed out on all of our settings and stuff to make the rear grip a bit better, so I can only do as much as I can do. There’s no geometry setting now to improve that, we’re maxed out on all of our areas, so we just have to accept that. My normal position’s not first, it’s to be top satellite, so as long as we’re there, it doesn’t matter who is in front of us from the factory side.”

Steve English

By Steve English