Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro successfully wrapped up his final appearance on track for the year at the Ricardo Tormo circuit today with a run to 8th position. The Spaniard partially sampled his new Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike for the 2016 season and continued his work with the Michelin tyres in order to start collecting valuable information for next year. Espargaro’s best time of 1’31.619, which he set on his penultimate lap, saw him close the test in 9th place in the combined standings, which a gap of just over half a second to the time at the top of the field.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith began his in-depth and methodical work with his new MotoGP bike for the forthcoming year whilst also continuing to the test the Michelin tyres. The Briton rode relentlessly and eventually completed more laps around the circuit than any other MotoGP rider today, outlining his intent to understand his new Yamaha YZR-M1 as well as the tyres fully. He set a personal best time of 1’31.694 which was only 0.075 from his teammate and now the 24 year old rider confidently awaits the next outing at the three day Sepang Test in February.
9th / 1’31.619 / 51 laps
“Overall, I am quite satisfied with what we achieved in the test, although, of course, there are many factors to improve in the future as it was just the first time on the new bike with the new tyres. The day didn’t start perfectly as I fell in the morning which made me lose a bit of time, but the team repaired the bike quickly. Then, together with the Michelin guys, we started to work on getting a better feeling in the front and achieved our goal. I was able to set a solid lap time and although it wasn’t incredible, I’m very pleased as the rhythm was good and we must remember that it was only the first two days of pre season testing so we can be satisfied with our performance. There are a lot of things that can change in the future, plus I need to adapt my riding style more to suit to the Michelin tyres. Also, I think that the riders who were using softer tyres this season, have a slight advantage at the moment as they are used to a higher level of rear grip compared to us and that’s definitely a characteristic of Michelin tyres. However, altogether I’m satisfied with how this test went, but we need to bear in mind that all tracks are different and Sepang is very dissimilar when compared to Valencia, so we will see how things go in February. Nevertheless, I am already looking forward to getting back on the my Yamaha after the winter break.”
10th / 1’31.694 / 71 laps
“We can be pleased with what we have achieved and it was a big day where I completed 71 laps as we focused on my new bike for 2016. The team and I needed to understand what sort of Yamaha we will ride next year, which in all honesty, was a big task as we had to go through everything thoroughly. This wasn’t necessarily to make things better instantly, but it was for knowledge which will help to prevent any potential issues in the future. After last year, we know how vital this is and hence, this is why I rode so many laps. In the end, we ran out of soft rear tyres so I had to use the hard compound, but I was still able to improve my time from yesterday even though the conditions were a bit tricky in the last hour here. In addition, we should only compare my lap time to the other satellite riders as we had just two front and rear compounds available, while the factory guys had more options to try. Altogether, I’m satisfied as it has been a positive day and we now have a very good understanding of the bike as well as a solid base to start 2016 with. It’s time to pack away my M1 for the winter break and I look forward to seeing it again in February!”