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Good start for sophomore Smith in third

Good start for sophomore Smith in third

Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro enjoyed successful starts in the first practice session of the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar.

At the beginning of his second year in the premier class Smith produced a best lap time of 1’55.816, and completed the first practice in third place - just over half a second from the leading time.

He commented, “Today was a really good start for us. The track conditions were different to when we tested here, probably due to a sandstorm which happened recently. However, the grip improved during the session and I was able to do 1’55 lap times again.”

Smith continued, “As I could keep this rhythm quite easily I decided that it wasn’t worth pushing to the absolute limit, as it was still a bit too risky with the conditions, so I will wait until tomorrow as the grip will improve for sure. Our aim is to stay in front of the factory bikes, for as long as possible”.

Despite his rookie status and riding with a healing collarbone, Espargaro, meanwhile, impressively completed the practice session less than a second off the fastest lap time in fifth – ahead of the Factory riders in his first official MotoGP session.

He explained, “My shoulder was still hurting a little but I can ride which I am pleased about. It was a bit painful on the straight when the bike is moving, and also in the long left corner when I had to lean down the outside of the fairing.”

Commenting on changes between the test and now, Espargaro added, “The track conditions were also a bit different to the test we did here; it’s colder and there is less grip. I didn’t want to ride at 100% because of this as I think tomorrow will be better for traction after the track has been cleaned a bit more.”

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