But with the Spaniard having set his time on the softer compound tyre, Smith was in high spirits about his prospects for the season-opening weekend.
“We did a 1m 55 flat at the test ten days ago and a 1m 55.8 tonight on old race tyres,” said Smith. “It was just a case of don’t take any risk, do the best job you can and don’t throw it in the gravel and wait and see what tomorrow brings because hopefully if the circuit gets a bit better we’ll get a bit more tyre temperature and then more grip.”
A lack of grip was an issue for Jorge Lorenzo, but when asked about his fellow Yamaha rider’s complaints Smith said that it was more than likely a lack of track time hampering the Spaniard:
“We’re having problems but I’ve had three days [testing] here. I know the secret to make the tyre work and I know what I need to do to get the best performance out of it and I know what feeling is dangerous and what feeling is edgy and what feeling is good. At the moment he doesn’t have enough time on this race track to know that feeling isn’t a problem.
“Philip Island is a completely different race track to here and it gives a completely different grip feeling. Here you have a lot of floating around and for someone that has come from Phillip Island that has unbelievable grip it will affect them more. As the weekend goes on it will improve for him and the rest of the guys. Everyone that tested at Philip Island is struggling today.”
While Lorenzo said that the tyres were dangerous Smith dismissed such comments by saying that the main issue with the tyres was that teams struggled to get them into optimum working range:
“We are on the borderline of optimum working temperature but the tyre is not dangerous. Nobody is crashing, danger only comes when riders are crashing because of it. It’s not working right so you need to learn how to extract the most from the tyre. We are teetering on the point of if you have the temperature it works and if you don’t have that temperature it doesn’t.”
Smith’s team-mate Pol Espargaro was fifth quickest.