Bradley Smith qualified in eighth position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the America’s but speaking after the session the Tech3 rider admitted that a small mistake at the final corner cost him two tenths of a second and possibly one place on the grid.
When asked about his performance in qualifying the Englishman said:
“To be honest I’m happy to make the improvement that we made from yesterday,” said Smith. “We didn’t change much from this morning to this afternoon so I ran what I had and I kind of knew that there’d be a limit there. I made a mistake on my best lap in the last sector which might have been worth one place but would have brought me closer to Valentino and those guys. Without it the gap would have been 0.2s which would be acceptable to those guys.”
“At the last corner, I tried to get in there a bit deep. I knew that I was weak into that corner and I just tried to chase the laptime. The wind caught me as I was braking, it was a strong headwind and pushed me to the left so I was looking at the apex and went straight past it.”
Last year Texas was a struggle for Smith but this year he is clearly much more comfortable and confident on the bike and he is bullish about his prospects in tomorrow’s 20 lap race:
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it’s going to be a tough race, but if I get a good start and can be aggressive into turn one then we’ll see how it goes. Everyone is running similar pace so we’ll need to improve the bike a little in the morning but I’m confident.”
The COTA circuit is one of the most technical and difficult circuits on the MotoGP calendar and for Smith to have the chance to build on his strong performance in Qatar, when he was in the fight for the podium, he said that finding a more consistent setup will be key:
“I believe that following and having someone to suck you along here at this track. I feel that we need to give me a bike that is more consistent. I felt a bit lairy out there today and made a few mistakes and looked a bit ragged at some points. We need to find a setting that lets me calm down to do the laptime and then we’ll see where we go from there.
“This afternoon I didn’t flow as much as I would have liked to. It felt that the wind got underneath the front here and it was a little bit light here and there. We have to be so precise with the Yamaha here, it’s very technical for our style of bike, so when you have the wind buffering you about we’re struggling. But we’re here to do our job and tomorrow is another day.”