Bradley Smith believes the first front row start of his MotoGP career proves Yamaha’s 2014 tire woes have been overplayed.
Two-time champion and Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo grew increasingly despondent and outspoken about this year’s revised Bridgestone compounds during the pre-season, claiming that they put Yamaha at a distinct disadvantage to Honda.
Smith, however, says his performance should be taken as proof that the issues are not insurmountable. He argued that testing for three days in Qatar prior to the season opener – a test the Factory outfits did not attend – had been enough to make a breakthrough with the setup.
“I don’t really know what the other Yamaha riders are complaining so much about,” Smith said following qualifying. “We knew this was going to be the situation, Bridgestone made it very clear from the first test.
“I accepted it didn’t work that well on the first day, but between me and the team we continued to work more and more.Of course we had three days advantage here; I have three days more information than them.
“Maybe Australia [the tire test at Philipp Island] wasn’t that great for the Factory guys because they got to run some tires that weren’t the compounds we have here.”
Smith said his first front row also owed to Yamaha providing Tech 3 with an updated chassis and seamless gearbox, adding: “straight away I was able to be fast, and that gave me a lot of confidence.
“I think our spec is a lot closer to the Factory bike than it was at the end of 2013 – that is mainly where the performance has come from.”