The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team pair concluded the opening test positively as they worked determinedly on their preparations for the 2016 season. Smith and Espargaro rode tirelessly for three days as they thoroughly examined the new Michelin tyres, the electronics package and their updated version of the Yamaha YZR-M1 for 2016. Both riders will now leave Malaysia positive and fully confident for the next test at Phillip Island.
Bradley Smith focused on completing as many laps as possible as he studied the effects of the Michelin tyres and the new electronics package over race distance. He completed 65 laps today with his total for the three day test being 179 laps, which was more than any other MotoGP rider. The 25 year old rider was also the only rider to sample the Michelin intermediate tyre after a heavy downpour of rain during the day. His time of 2’01.107 from yesterday’s session left him in 10th in the combined standings after finishing only 0.048 behind his teammate today, marking a solid effort at the opening test. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro pushed nonstop as he worked through his testing programme and made leaps forward with the setup of his MotoGP bike whilst he collected valuable data for the approaching season. The Spanish star completed 44 laps today and finished with a best time of 2’01.870 that left him just under a second from 5th in the combined standings.
15th / 201.107 / 179 laps / 10th overall
“It’s been a good three days and we completed 99% of what I wanted to test which is a positive conclusion. I set a lap time that I was happy with yesterday, so today I decided to focus on race simulations and the handling of the bike when on a full fuel load. This was important as this season we are going to 22 litres of fuel that, of course, makes the Yamaha behave a bit differently compared to last year. We also thoroughly worked on the electronics in order to keep as much grip as possible when the tyre drops and by doing a race simulation today, I got to sample this first hand as well as learn the tyres behaviour in more depth. The results have given the team a clear indication of what they need to improve, and obviously, Yamaha can look at the data I’ve gathered so I am sure we can take advantage of this before we go to Phillip Island. I also tried the intermediate tyre today, which I had done in Brno as well, but this one was a different spec and it was closer to a full slick tyre. It obviously worked better in the wet conditions, but it’s no solution for real rain. It’s a bit of a gamble at the moment but I gave some information to Michelin and it will be interesting to see what happens in the future. Altogether it’s been a great three days and we leave Sepang with a clear direction of where to go next in order to progress. Already, I feel as comfortable as I did last year from a setting point of view and there’s still six days left to test.”
16th / 2’01.870 / 118 laps / 16th overall
“Today our main focus was to increase our knowledge about the new electronics, especially in combination with the hard tyre as the grip level was quite low. In this situation, it’s really important to understand how to set up our package in order to make the bike as ridable as possible for me. However, when you try a lot of different options, it’s quite easy to get a bit confused because some are benficial and others seem to be a step backward. So we now have to analyse the data that we collected in the last three days and then design a clear plan for the upcoming test in Phillip Island. I’m already looking forward to trying the bike on another track and in different conditions, plus I’m confident that we will be much closer to the front.”