Bradley Smith ended the day sixth fastest at Assen with the Tech3 rider continuing to use the setup that he finished the Barcelona test with . Smith has struggled at times this season with his setup but the changes made in Barcelona, which more closely match the factory Yamaha bikes of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, have given him the confidence to push harder.
At Assen Smith was 0.6s off the pace of a soft compound shod Aleix Espargaro but just one tenth of a second slower than Lorenzo. When asked about his day Smith said:
“We used the same setting that we finished the Barcelona test with that I was really happy with it and it works here,” commented Smith. “We made a few minor adjustments because of the high speed nature of the track and having not so much high speed braking so we took a bit of front spring from the bike but apart from that we haven’t made many changes and I’ve just been doing laps. I followed Lorenzo in the morning and afternoon and tried to learn a bit from riding style and also for setups from him to get closer to the Factory boys.”
At the Barcelona test Smith was able to spend time working through numerous setup permutations and combinations before arriving at a base setting that allows him to ride the bike with a greater emphasis on the rear end, similar to the other Yamaha riders with Smith confirming that he now has significantly more confidence in the bike, particularly on full tanks:
“We changed everything at the test but not by a lot. I used everything that I’ve tried for the last five races and everything that the factory team have tried and we tried to use that to put a bike together that suits my riding style but that’s also more in their direction. Now when they start to change bikes and change settings it’s relevant to us rather than being out on a limb. It’s not that different to what we had but it’s about rotating the bike more to the rear and trying to steer it with the rear end rather than the front tyre. On full fuel in braking it gives me something to squeeze into rather than always feeling that you’re going over the handlebars.”
Setup changes weren’t the only thing that Smith changed today with the Englishman also taking advantage of following Lorenzo in both sessions to try and understand the difference between the Spaniard’s riding style and his own:
“I learned that my change of direction technique is a bit too aggressive and that I cause more problems than maybe I need to. I almost force the bike to go where I want it to rather than allowing it to make it’s natural course. Sometime the natural course although maybe being a bit slower can be better in the long run for stability.”