First pics: Bradley Smith tests at Suzuka

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Smith on the YSP R1 at Suzuka
Smith on the YSP R1 at Suzuka Picture: Jun Goto

Britain’s Bradley Smith and MotoGP team-mate Pol Espargaro have finally got some dry track time as preparations for their Suzuka Eight-Hours debut later this month continue.

The pair, who are teamed with Kats Nakasuga in the works Yamaha team, were basically washed out at the last test but it has been dry so far and Smith is looking forward to it.

“There are a few things we need to work on, because the machine is obviously developing all the time but yeah it feels like an M1, I’m not going to lie. All the riders are happy with riding positions and stuff like that so there’s nothing that we need to turn on its head, which is always a nice position to be in,” said Smith, speaking to bikesportnews.com.

Smith also believes the Japanese rider could hold the key to Yamaha wrestling the title away from Honda, who have won the last five runnings of the Eight Hour event.

“Nakasuga has had some great results and some great lap-times; he’s ridden a MotoGP bike as well, so he knows what we’re looking for and I think that’s one thing that has maybe helped him progress in the last few years,” Smith said of the five-time Japanese Superbike champion.

“He has actually ridden a MotoGP bike, and ridden Lorenzo’s setup and Valentino’s and he now knows what he should do with a Yamaha motorcycle to get it to work. So the bike is 90 per cent there, and we’ve just been modifying some really small details just to make but both me and Pol, we rode for like five laps and we were like, ‘oh, (Nakasuga) done a really good job’ and everybody’s been in with smiles, but he has – he is a racer.

“He’s winning the Japanese championship again, and ok maybe the level is not that high but, it’s high enough for him to be there and he is only two seconds a lap slower on a MotoGP bike than us, so he’s a smart guy. He knows what he needs to do.”

See today’s issue of Bikesport News for our full Suzuka preview

Picture: Jun Goto
Picture: Jun Goto