COMMERCIAL BANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR: riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith kicked off their 2016 campaigns and hit the track with instant speed in the first shakedown in Qatar as they began setting up their Yamaha MotoGP bikes for Sunday’s first round battle. Pol Espargaro wasted no time in getting straight on the pace as he aims to win the fight for the leading satellite rider battle this year. The young Spaniard lapped the track 18 times and set his personal best on the final run which left him in 6th, just three tenths back from third, marking a promising start to the weekend. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith leapt into gear as he confidently began the 2016 season and after consistently gaining speed, he set his fastest time on his 13th lap whilst aiming to improve further. Yet, a small crash at turn 13, close to the end of the session, prevented Smith from ascending any higher. However, the young British remains fully confident of bouncing back strongly tomorrow.
Pol Espargaro Position : 6th Time : 1’56.051 Laps : 18 Pol Espargaro – 2016 “It definitely feels good to open the weekend in this way, even if I was a bit nervous at the start of the session. I had a small issue with one of my gloves, which disturbed my concentration and I really wanted to set a fast lap time straight away. Yet, due to this, I wasn’t really relaxed so I came back to the garage, to calm down before going out again. After that, I tried to remember every single detail that we focused on during the test, corner by corner, and then things got a lot better. By the close of the session, we were able to post a good lap time on used tyres and I feel confident for tomorrow. Still, we have a large margin of improvement to make, but overall I’m feeling satisfied and looking forward to the next sessions.”
Bradley Smith Position : 11th Time : 1’56.524 Laps : 17 Bradley Smith – 2016 “It was a positive start to this Grand Prix, but it was really unfortunate to end the first night with a crash. I felt very comfortable and confident with the Yamaha along with the hard Michelin tyre and I did a long run at the beginning of the session. We then changed to the tyres that I preferred to use at the test here, and unfortunately, I made a small mistake in turn 13 which caused me to lose the front. Anyway, for me it was vital to get the data about both tyre options during the first night, in order to have a clear direction to follow for the remainder of the weekend. We will continue to push forward inside the top ten, because I am convinced that without the crash, I could have ended the session there. This is a good step forward compared to the test, so now we will repair the bike, check the data and come back a bit stronger tomorrow.”
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