BRIT GP HEROES HAVE TO DELIVER
Cal Crutchlow, Scott Redding anda Bradley Smith all face career-defining seasons. Crutchlow is running out of time. At 30 years old he needs to, at least, finish top satellite rider in 2016. But Smith will be pushing hard, the on-song Brit knows if he is to land a top factory ride at the end of the year, he must build and improve on his sixth position in the 2015 title chase while Redding has to deliver on the satellite Ducati if he is to stay in Motogp. All three say it how they see it in our no-holds
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Bradley Smith has echoed Valentino Rossi’s concerns that the M1 machine is far from perfect ahead of the opening tests of the 2016 season.
Speaking last week at the factory team’s Barcelona launch, Rossi admitted that the title battle between him and Jorge Lorenzo had taken Yamaha’s eye off the ball in terms of development – something that Smith agrees with entirely.
Speaking to MCN, he said: “Yamaha had to really work on winning the championship last year, and they had to focus on both riders. That stops development; it means they weren’t testing like Honda were.”
The 25-year-old has also rejected the notion that new control electronics and Michelin tyres will see a return to the past, with satellite bikes once again able to contend with the factory machines.
“I honestly believe once development starts we’ll be in a weaker position than we’ve ever been. With the Michelins, everyone is still only at 75% and that means that I see next year as more negative for satellite riders once development gets going.
“If someone throws a curve ball and goes half-a-second faster than the rest, the factories are going to have to chase, and there’ll be zero upgrades to the satellite teams.”
That makes the opening few races of the year crucially important for the Oxfordshire racer. And Smith is acutely aware that he needs to make his mark before the factories begin to debut new parts and the satellite teams get left behind.
“I can’t say what position I want to finish the year in, but I want to be top satellite again. I want to put my name in and amongst everyone else for the contracts. I’ll be 26 at the end of the year, and factory rides don’t come around at 28. I need to sign and secure something solid, and the only way to do that is by getting good results.
“When we come back from the first three flyaway races to Jerez that’s when I expect to see a gap starting to form. That’s always where the manufacturers bring something new. Those early races are a massive opportunity to make a difference. It’s not going to be easy to defend top Brit status either, but I’m confident that I can do it again.”
‘I feel like I’m in the right place with the Ducati already... I
enjoy riding it’ ‘I honestly believe that once development starts we’ll be in a weaker position than ever’