Stephen English: What are your prospects this weekend?
Bradley Smith: The track is completely different and the main thing with the weather is not to be caught out by anything tyre related-front tyre or rear tyre-so you have to be careful in that sense. the track itself is very fast and flowing and mistakes can cause big problems here because of the high speed nature of the track. There’s never a small crash at Philip Island so you have to be careful.
How long does it take to get the tyres up to temperature here?
It’s difficult to know how long it takes to get the tyres up to temperature because it’s a new surface. I think that it should help but it also depends on the wind. If it’s a cold wind off the sea or a warmer wind off the land and the wind makes the biggest difference here; it just drops the tyre temperature. So I’ll take it steady for the first few seasons and then see how it goes after that. I’m excited to ride here and last weekend was good. The base setup that we have is good and is working everywhere so we’ll try and improve on some small details. Here the hard braking on full fuel should be less of an issue so it will be interesting to see how that feels. We’ll work on a few things to close the gap to the top five.
Was the resurfacing for the whole track or just sections?
The whole track was resurfaced. It was even done with a completely different tyre of tarmac. It’s a completely different stone and type of tarmac. Looking at the Superbikes they improved a hell of a lot and I think that we’ll do the same depending on the weather.
Where did you make the improvements with setup? After Silverstone and Misano you were struggling and said that you had gone down a blind alley.
We went back to what we had before. At Misano we found a direction with the body position and then improving my riding style. In MotoGP there’s an awful lot of mass and if you’re riding at such high speed with 160kg of bike it will move around a lot from front to rear. The carbon brakes emphasis that more too so it’s about how you use the tools to make it work properly. If you ride aggressively the bike will react aggressively. If you ride it smoothly the bike reacts pretty well. It’s difficult because it’s a lot of self control is needed. It’s hard to race at 100% but feel like you’re riding at 70%. That’s the feeling that you have to have that you’re getting the maximum from the bike without really showing it; it’s kind of a bluff. If you look like you’re riding fast you’re normally not.
How do you assess your season so far?
The season has gone very well. In my opinion if we can get a little bit better in the final three rounds that’s a bonus. We’re ahead of all of our targets so far this year and anything that I can get out of these final three weekends before we start 2014 is a positive. The whole idea of a rookie season is to keep learning and that’s what we’ve done up to now. It’s quite scary that there’s only three races to go but there’s a lot we can learn in those three races.