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Both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro moved through to Q2 at the Japanese GP, with Smith then pipping his teammate to P7 by only 0.034. Smith says the experience of going through Q1 was useful, and that starting further up in the wet will be helpful.
“Today was one of those days where with those drying track conditions it could have gone either way at the end of Q1 but I was 2nd right behind Pol,” says Smith. “In Q2 itself I knew I had to be smart with my knowledge of Q1 and use the tyre in the right way when the track was as dry as possible. We are 7th on the grid tomorrow and that makes our life so much easier. It looks like it will be a wet race tomorrow which makes the start even more critical because this track can get very wet indeed that in turn gives a lot of spray. Today was crucial.”
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MotoGP™ riders talk Saturday at the #JapaneseGP
Teammate Espargaro, who topped Q1 before just losing out in Q2 to Smith, says that the weather tomorrow will also be a crucial factor, and that maybe qualifying was also a question of some luck after they’d found it harder going in the rain. But the Spaniard agreed it was a good day’s work.
“I think we did well,” said the younger of the Espargaro brothers. “In these tricky conditions you have to make your own luck, but it worked. You need to be fast in these conditions as you never know what the next corner can give to you, so we did well to do these lap times.”
Now it’s race time, with both ready for the challenge of moving further forward in the Austrian factory’s first year.
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