|Crutchlow was testing corner entry performance today
Photo: Tech 3 Racing
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha newbie Bradley Smith has broken into the top 10 in the second day of testing, reducing the gap to the front to only 1.382sec, within a second of 9 time world champion and Yamaha Factory rider Valentino Rossi and around half a second from team mate Cal Crutchlow.
Smith is rapidly adapting to the Yamaha M1, a lot heavier and more powerful than the Moto2 bike he’s ridden for the past 2 years ended day 2 of the test in 8th, “Today’s performance and the final lap times makes me feel really happy but I am not going to get carried away. I am happy with the job I have done and to be so fast on such a long and technical track is great for my confidence. But I know reducing the gap to the leading group will be very difficult. There’s still a long way to go but it is nice to be so much faster than yesterday and to see some real progress. A lot of it is down to trusting the bike and having the confidence to ride it to the absolute limit to get the best out of it. I’m not at that point yet but each time I go out I get a better feeling. The great thing with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is they make me feel calm and concentrated and they give me a focus to work on my technique out on track. The lap times are coming from the work we are trying to improve in key areas. It never feels easy on these bikes and you don’t get time to rest, but when it becomes more like your friend then you start making steps forward. The team gives me a plan and an area to work on and I try to implement it on track..”
Crutchlow, entering his third year in the team took only 7 laps to improve upon his time from yesterday where he ended the first day in 6th place behind Stefan Bradl. He spent the day looking how to improve corner entry performance for corners which require severe braking. He said: “Today I mainly looked at improving the bike on corner entry and one setting was an improvement but we lost a bit of turning performance. This track has some severe braking points, particularly going into the first and last corner where you arrive in the braking zone while flat-out in sixth gear. We need to keep the rear tyre more on the floor at corner entry, so it was good to try and get more rear grip to help me enter the corner without the rear sliding too much. I’ve still got a few tenths to find but it seems on used tyres I’m around the same pace as Valentino and that’s positive but I still feel a little bit rusty after the winter lay-off. Another key target for this test is to get a good understanding with my new Japanese engineer from Yamaha. He worked with Andrea (Dovizioso) last year and we just need time to understand how he works. We are working closely together and I am looking forward to his input this season.”