Smith expecting 2016 development woes for satellites

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Bradley Smith has told MCN that he expects a strong start to the 2016 season on the Monster Tech 3 Yamahas; despite the challenges of taking on the factory bikes on a satellite machine he expects to suffer with when it comes to development.

“In terms of the package we’re being given we need to be extremely grateful for what we have. Yamaha have stumped up and gave us a good package, and I think for the first four races we’ll be in a good place because there’s won’t be a massive amount of development done.

“When we come back to Jerez and the test afterwards, that’s when I expect to see a gap starting to form. That’s always where they bring something new. Those four races are a massive opportunity to do something, to make a difference.”

And while the new rule changes that mean all teams will be forced to run identical software, the Oxfordshire racer says that it’s the switch to Michelin tyres that will create the most development headaches.

“I honestly believe once development starts, we’ll be in a weaker position than we’ve ever been. Although developments happened with the Bridgestones, it wasn’t as severe – everyone is already at 99%, 99%, 99.5%! There’s only so much you can refine a motorcycle.

“With the Michelins, everyone is still only at 75% – and that means that I see next year as more negative for satellite riders once development gets going. If someone throws a curve ball and goes half a second faster than everyone else, the factories are going to have to chase, and there’ll be zero upgrades to the satellites.”

For an exclusive interview with Redding about the 2016 season and beyond, see this week’s Motorcycle News.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer