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Mar 10, 2014 - 05:58 AM
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Tech3s Espargaro And Smith Wrap Up Pre-Season In Top 3 At Qatar
Posted by: newsla on Mar 10, 2014 - 05:56 AM
MotoGP
Tech3s Espargaro And Smith Wrap Up Pre-Season In Top 3 At Qatar


Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith concluded their pre-season testing today at the final session in Qatar. Both riders optimised the track time to finish the test, feeling optimistic ahead of the opening MotoGP race on the 23rd March.

 

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Reigning Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro finished his pre-season impressively having completed the session in 2nd place. The young Spanish rider confidently set about completing quick laps, running a race simulation and continuing his learning process by trying different setup modifications of his Yamaha YZR-M1. However, the premier class rookie made a very small error whilst changing gears going into turn 6 at the end of the session, and ran on at the corner, before falling in the gravel. Even though it was a small crash, he broke his left collarbone and will now fly back home tomorrow for examination and possible surgery. Despite this, the Spaniard’s hard work over the testing period with his new Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, was evident as his final time was less than two tenths of a second off Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo’s pole position qualifying time set last year. Espargaro completed this week’s test session with a best time of 1:54.907, after completing 45 laps.

Young British rider Bradley Smith completed a successful pre-season today at the Losail circuit having worked relentlessly in preparation for the first race. Smith explored different options on his Monster Yamaha Tech3, Yamaha YZR-M1 across the testing period, and leaves the track feeling confident and with his intentions firmly set for 2014. He continued today with finalising some small changes to the geometry of his MotoGP bike as well as running race simulations. Despite having a small fall at the beginning of his long run in the latter stages of the session, the young British rider was uninjured and completed 55 laps in total. Smith finished in 3rd place, with a best time of 1:55.027.

The opening race of the MotoGP 2014 season begins under the floodlights on the 23rd March at the Losail Circuit, Qatar.

Pol Espargaro – 1:54.907 – 2nd:
“We can be happy with the job we did today as we made some very good steps forward. At the early stages of the session we found a better setting which allowed me to improve my time with the new tyres, and I could lower me lap time quite a lot. Also, the rhythm I had during the race simulation was much better than yesterday. Of course, the crash at the end of the session was a bit unlucky. I made a mistake whilst changing down the gears going into the corner, which meant I had to go straight ahead and then crashed in the gravel. I am still very confident and positive about the test and I will be back here in two weeks ready to race“.

Bradley Smith – 1:55.027 – 3rd:
“Overall, I am really pleased with how the winter went for us. Today at Qatar, we decided to do a race simulation at 10:00pm which we thought was the best time to compare to the race weekend. We made some alterations midway through and I was able to go out again with the same tyres in the final fifteen minutes. I am feeling happy with what was achieved here and this means that we are definitely hitting the ground running. The next step is just some slight fine tuning. The desert is always a bit unpredictable but we are prepared. We have done a lot of very good laps, and I am really excited for round one”.

Herve Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Owner:
“This test has once again proved that we are at the start of a very exciting Championship with many riders fighting for the top positions, and I’m glad to say that we are among them. Pol and Bradley both did a very good job during the pre-season, with each of them having different aims. Pol needed to adapt as quickly as possible to the bike, and he still has a long way to go, but I’m sure he will give us great pleasure doing the season and surprise us at some races. Of course he has been unlucky to crash in such an unfortunate way and hurt himself, but with the determination he has shown so far there is no doubt that he will be back here for the race and ready to give his all. Bradley on the other hand, used the various test sessions to improve different aspects of the bike which he was struggling with during the last season. When we look at his race pace at the moment, we are confident in saying that he did a great job. So, I’m really pleased and satisfied with the work of the whole team and we are all looking forward to the moment when the starting lights turn green on this track, in two weeks”.

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