Tech 3 riders regretting strategic errors

Tech 3 riders regretting strategic errors
Monday, 30 June 2014

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 pairing Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro would experience differing situations at Assen on Saturday, but by the time the race had come to an end the riders were bemoaning their strategies to varying extents.

In the case of Smith, the Englishman finished the Grand Prix eighth and just fractions behind GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, although the Oxford rider knows that pitting one lap earlier could have left him fifth at the chequered flag.

“From a strategy point of view, I think we did the right thing in terms of tyres and compounds and all that type of thing - both in the wet and in the dry,” Smith began. “It was my mistake, though, to stay out one lap too long and lose about ten seconds, not switching to the slick soon enough. I am kicking myself a bit because, looking at the pace I was able to show on the Slick tyre which was the third fastest lap time, we would have been able to fight for a fifth position today which would have been great.

“Nevertheless, we did what we could. We struggled a lot with the rain – as did all of the Yamaha riders – and lost an awful lot of time at the beginning of the race. As soon as I put the slicks on I started to feel at home. I have finished as the highest-placed person who pitted on Lap 7 so, from that point of view, nobody did better than me on that same strategy, but it was just that our strategy didn’t work today.”

For team-mate Pol Espargaro, who had won last year’s Assen race from pole position in Moto2™, 2014 would present a completely new set of circumstances. He would end his afternoon in the garage eight laps before the end.

“It was crazy,” the Spaniard lamented. “Until that moment I hadn’t ridden in wet conditions on this bike – and it wasn’t wet conditions, but mixed. We had to make a decision. When I saw Valentino (Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on dry tyres, I also thought it was a good decision, but then it rained a bit more. Our decision was completely wrong. Before the rain, on the grid, we were really confident with the decision, but after that it started to rain and everything changed. That’s racing.

“I later went back out on Wets just in case it rained again. We could have been lucky, if something happened in the world…a meteorite or something [laughs]. No…I had to try on the Wets, but when I saw that no rain was coming I just preferred to stop.”

Eight races into the 18-round World Championship, Smith completes the top ten in the standings whereas team-mate Espargaro has lost one spot, with Pol dropping to seventh overall and now nine points behind brother Aleix (NGM Forward Racing).

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