Coming through Q1 hasn't been a common occurrence for Bradley Smith in 2015 and after qualifying ninth the Tech3 rider joked that "I definitely knew that I had a work out today!" For Smith the day started badly after he was unable to get the most from his tyres in FP3 and wasted his chance to get into Q2 automatically. Being forced to take part in the opening 15 minutes of qualifying always hurts riders as it forces them to use a set of their softer tyres that they had hoped to use in qualifying. However, in qualifying ninth Smith still had some positives for the afternoon.
"It's important to start on the third row because it puts me ahead of Aleix, Pol and Barbera which is good because I think they were three important guys to be in front of on the grid. Maverick is beside me on the grid so I'll try and jump at the start. Dovi is there too so if I can get in front of those guys and then go after the top satellite rider tomorrow that's the target."
Smith admitted that he hadn't gotten the most from the fresh tyres in the morning and when asked about the challenges of being able to nail a lap when it counts in the session he outlined the challenges when a rider is also adjusting to a new setting.
"It's difficult when you're not feeling great with a new setting to be able to just get to the limit on a fresh set of tyres. The softer tyres are worth half a second a lap around here so you need to make sure that you can extract that from the tyre and you only really get one lap out of a fresh set of tyre because after that you lose that perfect grip.
"We changed a massive amount on the bike today and went in the direction of the factory team. It's definitely helped us around here. We're using a different setting to our normal one but it's working well. My race pace is pretty good and I believe that I can fight for top satellite tomorrow."