Crash.net Interview Hervé Poncharal
Posted on Feb 08, 2014 by George Penny
“Bradley has been very impressive because last year he was a bit nervous. He didn't know what to expect, he wanted to prove himself, he was chasing the lap time. Thinking, 'can I make it?'
“This year I can see him incredibly relaxed. I don't want to say sure of himself because that gives the wrong impression of how down to earth he is.
“This week he has never been chasing a lap time. Bridgestone have brought some different tyres, which look like they will be the future direction but are so far not what we like best.
“Bradley could have used the tyres that work best for us to do a fast lap time tonight. Instead he gave them back and worked on the new tyres we will have for the season. He has also done two race simulations, not complete distances, yesterday and today.
“For sure it is nicer to be second or third, but I think the approach he has is real work for the championship.
“So I'm impressed to be honest. He has matured a lot during the winter and when we see what he is doing on track, hear his comments and look at his lap-by-lap times - not talking one fast lap - he is very, very close to Valentino and Jorge.”
Smith had concluded 2013 on a high by setting the second fastest lap to Marquez in testing at Valencia, when new team-mate Pol Espargaro was sixth quickest on his MotoGP debut.
“Overall we are very happy. We are not going to make the headlines, but this was a very productive test and, it sounds stupid to say it, but the first race is Qatar. Okay, Marquez is on top here and he will be fighting for victory in Qatar, but I think we are in better shape than the results are showing at the moment.”
The second Sepang MotoGP test takes place at the end of this month, followed by a third and final official outing at Losail prior to the season opening round at the Qatar venue on March 23.
Bradley Smith Day 3 longest run (13 laps):
By Peter McLaren, Crash.net