Smith seventh in breathtaking Phillip Island qualifying
Posted on Oct 19, 2013 by Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith will start tomorrow’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix from sixth and seventh respectively after both mounted a strong challenge for the front row in a record-breaking qualifying session.
Lap records might have been smashed across the board thanks to impressive grip levels from new asphalt at the coastal venue, but concerns have emerged over excessive rear tyre wear from the allocation made available by official tyre supplier Bridgestone.
Smith was able to lap just a fraction outside of Casey Stoner’s 2008 pole position benchmark in a record-breaking session that saw factory Yamaha rider, Jorge Lorenzo, obliterate the outright record with a sensational lap of 1.27.899.
Smith set a 1.28.941, but unusually high temperatures for the Australian Grand Prix and high grip levels from the new Phillip Island track surface resulted in endurance issues being encountered with all tyre options.
Smith will now consult with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew and Bridgestone technicians over the best selection for tomorrow’s race, which is currently scheduled to run over 27-laps.
Tomorrow’s race is the 16th of this year’s World Championship and is the middle of a flyaway triple-header that started in Malaysia last weekend and concludes in Japan next Sunday.
Bradley Smith 7th 1.28.491 – 9 laps:
“It has obviously been quite a confusing day with the soft tyre not being an option for the race tomorrow, but at least we could use it in practice and qualifying. I have been happy with the bike today. It has felt much better and I like how it was reacting. I really concentrated on making sure my first flying lap was a good one and at the end I am really happy to finish with a 28.9 because yesterday I wasn’t even sure if I could get into the 29s. I am not far off the front row at all and we have done a good job. Now we have got to wait and see what happens with the tyre situation for tomorrow’s race because it seems there is a lot of uncertainty around. I am looking forward to the race and my target will be to battle with Cal and Bautista.”