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Mar 23, 2014 - 06:03 AM
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Dazzling Start Sees Bradley Smith On A Fantastic Front Row For Floodlit Qatar GP
Posted by: newsla on Mar 23, 2014 - 06:00 AM
Dazzling Start Sees Bradley Smith On A Fantastic Front Row For Floodlit Qatar GP

Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro performed impressively during a fiercely competitive qualifying session today at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Britain’s Bradley Smith qualified superbly on the front row in 3rd, while his Spanish teammate Pol Espargaro scored a 12th position for the start of the opening MotoGP World Championship race tomorrow night under the floodlights.


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Bradley Smith today continued his brilliant pre-season by qualifying in his best ever position of 3rd in the MotoGP class for tomorrow’s Grand Prix. His performance also ensured the fact that a Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider has been present on the front row of the grid for three consistent years at Qatar. Having previously topped the 4th free practice session and consistently posting quick lap times all week, Smith worked tirelessly with his Monster Yamaha Tech3 team to finish with a best lap time of 1:54.601 around the 5.83 kilometre circuit. The young English rider’s emphatic performance was less than a hundredth of a second from the fastest rider, and will put in him in the best possible position to battle with the leading riders tomorrow. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 satellite rider finished as the fastest Yamaha rider and ahead of the Factory Yamaha’s of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

Pol Espargaro skilfully sailed through Qualifying 1 before heading into the Q2 session where he finished in 12th position on his debut MotoGP appearance for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team. Having fallen heavily, albeit uninjured yesterday, the reigning Moto2 World Champion bounced back determinedly today with a calculated ride which saw him top the Qualifying 1 session, and then set a 1:55.152 in Q2. With the young Spaniard’s knowledge of the Yamaha YZR-M1 still growing, his qualifying time is even more impressive after finishing just over six tenths from the leading time in his first ever MotoGP Qualifying.

Bradley Smith - 3rd - 1:54.601:Bradley Smith - Losail 2014
“I am really pleased with today, the bike felt great and I’m really satisfied with the setup. The performance during the fourth free practice session was very promising and fortunately I was able to translate that performance to the new tyre. I was slightly disappointed because with the second tyre, Aleix, Marc and I, all waited a bit too long, as nobody wanted to be followed. My tyres got too cold to push again, so I decided to take the bike back to parc fermé instead of taking any more risks, but I felt I still had some margin. However, you don’t get points for qualifying, tomorrow is when it really counts and there are 22 laps to battle in. For sure a good start is the key and I know I’m pretty good at them. I also know that I will be strong on the full fuel load as I worked a lot to improve this during the winter. Having said that, there are a lot of strong riders behind me and it won’t be easy, but I’ll give it my all. Tonight I will rest up, and prepare myself and if the bike feels like it did today, I am confident of getting a good result“.

Pol Espargaro - 12th - 1:55.152:Pol Espargaro - Losail 2014
“I am happy with how I performed during my first qualifying session today. After yesterday, it took me a little time to rediscover my rhythm, but the most important fact is that I again, have a great feeling with my bike. Of course, tomorrow the race might be different, but after a tough day yesterday I’m really satisfied with my performance during the qualifying. Unfortunately we had to go through Q1 which was not ideal , especially because that meant that we had to maintain an already used front tyre for the final qualifying practice and the grip wasn’t the same anymore. I didn’t feel that I could push quite as much into the entrance of the corner, which is where the Yamaha is the strongest. Still, I was only 6 tenths of a second from the top lap time, almost half a second from Jorge, and less than a tenth from Valentino. After looking at these statistics, I think I can be satisfied, and also because I believe that my fastest lap time today was very similar to what will be my race pace tomorrow”.

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