Bradley Smith's MotoGP boss says Brit looks 'immediatley at home'
|By Matt Beer||Saturday, November 17th 2012, 11:38 GMT|
Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal reckons Bradley Smith looked 'immediately at home' on his MotoGP test debut this week.
Smith will join fellow Briton Cal Crutchlow at Yamaha's satellite MotoGP team next season after seven years in the 125cc and Moto2 feeder categories.
Although rain marred the Valencia winter test, Smith was able to complete 16 laps in the damp on Wednesday then 27 laps on a dry track.
Smith, 21, ended up 11th fastest and was 1.9 seconds off Crutchlow's pace.
"It couldn't have been easy making his MotoGP debut on a wet track, but he looked immediately at home on the bike," said Poncharal.
"I'm pleased that he could get some time on slick tyres and carbon brakes, so at least he knows what to expect when we resume testing at Sepang next February.
"He has a big challenge ahead of him but [the test] was a very promising start."
Smith said his first taste of a MotoGP bike was everything he had hoped for.
"Obviously the bike is completely different to anything I have ridden before, but it is an unbelievable machine," he said.
"The power is incredible and in the dry when I came on the straight for the first time, I just had a huge smile.
"The level of technology is really impressive but I was able to consistently improve my time with every run and I am leaving very satisfied with my performance and confident in my potential for the future."
He also thanked Crutchlow for the help he had already provided.
"Cal followed me for a couple of laps and gave me some tips and I really appreciate that," Smith said.
"Cal had a fantastic season and I know I can learn a lot from him."
The highlights of Smith's formative world championship career were his two 125cc seasons with the benchmark Aspar team in 2009 and '10, when he became a regular frontrunner and finished runner-up to team-mate Julian Simon in the '09 title race.
He then moved to Moto2 with Tech 3, claiming seventh in the standings in his rookie year but ending up only ninth at the end of a tough 2012 campaign.