Sixth fastest and just 0.4s from the fastest Yamaha gave Bradley Smith plenty of reason to be encouraged by the opening session of this weekend’s Americas Grand Prix. The Englishman followed up his strong opener to the season in Qatar with another solid performance in COTA.
Speaking exclusively to Crash.net after the session the Englishman said:
“The feeling was quite good and I’m already faster than last year so obviously I’m more confident on this track and more confident on these tyres,” said Smith. “I still probably need another session under my belt and a long run at the beginning of the session just to figure out the lines. It takes a while around here to make sure that you’re on the right place at the right time but I’m happy with everything that I felt.
“There’s a few things on the track that are different and I feel that the grip level is better but there’s a lot more bumps and obviously the wind was catching me out in some places but overall I’m very pleased with the first session. We are as competitive, compared to the Yamaha’s, as we were in Qatar so we’ve got to continue on that.”
As opposed to 12 months ago when Smith struggled at COTA this year the Tech3 rider is clearly much more confident aboard his Yamaha and in the afternoon session he is looking to try longer stints and evaluate the 2014 harder spec tyre:
“I don’t expect too much of a different but maybe with this temperature it’s good and we could try the harder tyre. I’m looking forward to trying it and fingers crossed that will work on the Yamaha because that’s the 2014 spec tyre. I’m interested to try that but in general I really can’t be too disgruntled because the bike already feels good. It’s good to know that we can it from Qatar and bring it here and it’s already working so now it’s just a case of fine tuning everything.”