Braking issue in qualifying for Smith limits potential

Posted on Nov 17, 2018 by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

MotoGP encountered late autumnal conditions and freakish storms at the flat Ricardo Tormo Circuit outside the city of Valencia and for the traditional last round of the FIM World Championship on Spanish soil. Rain covered the venue on Thursday and Friday, which meant three of four Free Practice sessions were held in wet conditions.

Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro were smart with their tyre allocation and used their experience in the conditions (particularly on a treacherous Friday) to maximise set-up, grip and potential with the RC16 racebikes. The pair hovered around the inside or on the fringes of the top ten; Espargaro earning direct entry to Q2 after another soaked FP3 this morning.

Both riders and the rest of the MotoGP grid negotiated rapidly drying Valencian asphalt for FP4 – Smith especially finding form to hit the top five - and then into the Q1 and Q2 chronos. Bradley suffered a braking issue at a key time that limited his potential and he disappointingly could do no better than 22nd.

Bradley Smith (Factory Rider MotoGP):
“I had a brake issue in qualification. I went P2 straight away and came in to the box because I believed the Medium tyre would be the right choice for the second half of the practice. I was throwing down red helmets in the first part of the lap but lacked brake pressure when I came to Turn 12 and ran into the gravel. I tried everything to try and get something in the rest of the session but it was impossible. You just have to look at Pol’s pace to see the KTM is working well today. I felt really good in the dry and was doing a good job around the top five-six in FP4 so to be 22nd doesn't seem fair but it is what it is and I will have to make my way through the pack tomorrow.”

Sebastian Risse, Technical Director MotoGP:
“With Bradley we struggled a lot in qualifying and we have to analyse why. He couldn't get a clean run or a proper lap-time and we need to check the full reason because up until then he had been going well. The positives outweigh the negatives. We’re hopeful for tomorrow. At one stage I think we would have preferred it if the race was wet but now we’ll face whatever comes.”

Races: November 18, 2018 – Moto3 11:00 | Moto2 12:20 | MotoGP 14:00 CET

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