Britain’s Bradley Smith used the Jerez MotoGP post-race test to confirm that the setup direction he took at Austin was the right one but moved his riding position back to where it feels more natural and found he was able to still load the front Michelin as much as he needed to.
The Monster Yamaha man made ‘centimetre’ adjustments in Texas to try and get back the feeling he had with last year’s bike but has now realised that feeling is not in this bike, as the Michelins don’t allow it. But the Oxfordshire copper-top believes he now has a bike capable of challenging team-mate Pol Espargaro.
“It’s no secret we have been struggling a little bit and a lot of today was going over what we changed in the first test and few races just to confirm we haven’t gone the wrong way. So this morning we back-to-backed to make sure we have the best package available within our garage,” said Smith, speaking at track.
“Once we had done that, we started to work a little bit on rear shock and riding position. There were no miracles, but we didn’t expect that, and our objective was to gain about 0.3s a lap and we gained about half a second so we have beaten the objective. I matched my qualifying times from the weekend and my pace was better.
“I don’t think this is going to dramatically turn around my season but looking on Sunday, the top satellite was ten seconds in front. We needed to improve, so I am pleased with the outcome. I continued to work with the normal tyres as we won’t get the newer tyres for a few races.
“It was the first day that I felt I knew what I was doing and could concentrate on riding rather than being scared or having uncertainties. We didn’t try and re-invent the wheel. There were a few things we chucked at it in Austin that I think we did in a rush.”