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Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro storms to third place on the opening day of the Sepang 2 test.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro began the Sepang 2 test with immediate speed to storm to third place on the opening day of action in Malaysia.
The young Spaniard continued working on the 2015 specification Yamaha YZR-M1 as he gears up for the fast approaching 18 round season and made further progress in establishing a strong setup. The 23-year-old Catalan clocked a best time of 2’00.876 which he set on his 17th lap out of 45 to successfully see him finish inside the top three on the first day. Although rain fell in the afternoon, costing the riders the chance to improve their times, it did allow them to test rain setups and Espargaro ran six laps on wet tyres as he now looks to tomorrow to continue his bright start in Malaysia.
On the other hand, Bradley Smith opened his Sepang 2 account with a firm and confidence boosting ride to 8th position in the standings. The young British rider suffered a leg injury during the winter break and after easing back into riding at the first test, this week he returns to Sepang recovered and ready for action. The 23 year old set to work immediately as the session began as he sought to further refine and adjust the 2015 Yamaha YZR-M1 with the season opener in Qatar only a month away. The end result was a best time of 2’01.241, less than a tenth of a second back from 5th which he set on his 22nd lap before going on to complete 51 in total including several laps in the wet. His performance today leaves him fully confident of making further improvements tomorrow.
Pol Espargaro: "I am really happy with the progress that we have made today and to finish in third is a great start to this test. We are continuing to work in the right direction and as soon as we started this morning, I knew that we could be quick. At midday it was already 54 degrees on the ground which was clearly warmer than the first test where it reached a max of 50 and so we weren’t able to ride as many laps. However, the general feeling for today was that it was productive and we focused on trying different electronic settings. The information that we collected will be very useful and furthermore, it was very good to run some laps in the rain as well. This meant that we could work on the wet setup and I am really pleased with this especially, as there is a definite improvement. The 2015 Yamaha feels great and I know that if I can ride a bit smoother and adjust my riding style slightly, we can be strong. There are a few more things which we have to study in order to improve, but we cannot rush everything and we must take it all step by step."
Bradley Smith: "It’s great to be back here at Sepang again after not such a long wait so that we can carry on getting prepared for Qatar. The track conditions were different today compared to the last time when we were riding here and the circuit was a bit unpredictable with the grip levels. In some corners there was a lot less than in others but I’m happy because I didn’t really lose a lot of time compared to the other riders in these conditions. I’m closer to the front than the last test and I am also pleased because my ankle is much better than it was, although it is still not perfect. We were able to ride in the rain as well which is positive. I didn’t risk too much but I already feel much more comfortable when compared to last year in the wet and the lap time was much quicker. I think we still need to work but we are starting to see what we need to do to carry a good lap time and also to get grip in the wet with the Yamaha."
3 years ago