Bradley Smith may have qualified in seventh position but the rookie was less than three tenths off the pace of the front row and deservedly very pleased with his efforts in qualifying for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix.
The Englishman has been fast all weekend and consistently been closely matched to his teammate, Cal Crutchlow, but having found improvements prior to qualifying he was immediately more confident on the bike:
“I’m really pleased that we found something in FP4,” said Smith after qualifying. “We tried another setup with the bike probably more towards what we had in Sepang and straight away it felt a little more comfortable and do a little bit better lap time so that’s the direction we’ll go in tomorrow. For Philip Island it’s not normally a track run that setting-Philip Island is completely different to Sepang-but it seemed to work and I did my qualifying on that setup so I’m really pleased with how it worked.”
In qualifying Smith set his time on the first lap of his stint and immediately he felt that it would not be possible, or worth the risk, to set a faster time and he eased off to the end of the session.
“I rolled off after setting my fastest time. Once I set that time I knew that it was the best I had. To go faster than that would have been an unnecessary risk and to do a 1m29s was a little bit of a shock to me anyway.”
Having finished so close to the front row clearly shows the improvements that Smith has made in recent months and afterwards he was delighted with his effort:
“I am very pleased to be just over 0.2s from the front row and I think that it was a great job by everyone.”