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Smith shows pace in Barcelona sunshine

Smith shows pace in Barcelona sunshine

Bradley Smith kicked off proceedings in style with a good ride to first place in FP2 on the opening day at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya.

After beginning his weekend with a best time of 1’43.718 in FP1, Smith knuckled down with his Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team to continue his setup research from Mugello during the afternoon - before clinching first at the end of the session in gloriously sunny conditions.

The 23 year-old completed 20 FP2 laps and his efforts were rewarded with a 1’42.123 lap time which boosted him from 12th to first in the final five minutes of the session. His pace in FP2 saw him 0.151s ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez and is also already an improvement of almost half a second from his qualifying time last year.

“To finish in first in FP2 is certainly great,” Smith reflected afterwards. “I am pleased as we undertook some key work in Mugello and the results are shining through here as well. The setting is very positive with the bike although I wasn’t able to show it last time unfortunately. The main thing we looked at today was the front contact, the turning of the bike as well as front tyre choices.”

“Overall, I feel confident and happier plus I enjoy Barcelona as I run strongly here. It’s been a tricky few races but we have always worked hard and now I aim to keep this positive momentum for this weekend and the next few MotoGP races and continue to try my best.”

Smith’s Tech 3 colleague Pol Espargaro is a Montmelo local and he finished eighth in the combined standings on Friday.

Espargaro commented, “I believe we can be satisfied with our performance today. The first sessions are always tricky for us as I need to understand the lines and get the feeling of how to ride a MotoGP bike on the track and especially here it has been an emotional start, as its just so close from where I have grown up. But finishing fifth this afternoon, whilst improving our lap times also with the hotter conditions, is really positive and gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow.”


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