Bradley Smith out to emulate Stefan Bradl in 2013

Posted on Feb 11, 2013 by George Penny

Bradley Smith believes he can challenge for a place in the top five as he prepares for his debut MotoGP season.

Smith, 22, will ride for the Tech 3 Yamaha team this year after stepping up from the Moto2 championship.

He told BBC Sport: "Looking at what Stefan Bradl did in his first year up last year, in that seventh to fifth area, I would like to think I have got that type of result in me. It's a realistic focus, a very hard one to achieve, but I believe in it."

Smith is team-mate to fellow Briton Cal Crutchlow this year and makes the move up after two seasons at Moto2 level for the Tech 3 team.

The Oxford-born rider managed two podiums in Moto2 in 2011 but could only manage a best finish of fourth last season.

He believes the performances of 2011 Moto2 champion Bradl in MotoGP last year - with the German impressing on his way to four top-five finishes on his LCR Honda - show that riders can adjust quickly to life in the top class.

He said: "If I could emulate anything close to Bradl in his first year I would be chuffed. There are three rookies coming up from Moto2 this year in Marc Marquez, Andrea Iannone and myself. That gives me two riders who I know well to base myself on."

Smith impressed in the pre-season test in Sepang last week, ending the week in eighth place, ahead of both factory Ducati riders.

He admits he is still getting used to the power of his MotoGP machine, and credits his strong start to a 15-month fitness regime which he started after signing his Tech 3 deal in 2011.

He said: "It's all about learning to cope with the power. My Moto2 bike was capable of 170mph on a good day and the MotoGP bike is pushing 220mph - quite a difference. One of the biggest things is the speed that you enter the corners. You come in at 180mph and use carbon brakes to try and stop in time."

"Throw in the 20 best riders in the world and it makes my job difficult. But from the moment I signed a contract in 2011 my training changed a lot. A motorcycle at that speed has a lot of mass and to hold on to it as it accelerates and throw around a 155kg machine is different.

I am getting there. I'm a lanky scrawny kid so I have to put a lot of work in the gym. You almost want to be like a gymnast. You don't want to be big and bulky as you need to be aerodynamic and agile."

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