With the start of the 18-round season just three weeks away, Bradley Smith completed three exhausting days of testing in the heat and humidity of Malaysia this week.

Despite the conditions, the 23-year-old from Beckley raced 185 laps of the demanding Sepang circuit, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, in preparation for his second season in the sport’s elite level.

“I come away from here quite happy,” said the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider.

“It appears as though the track was slower this time than the previous test, but we are close to my lap time from then.

“It has been a somewhat difficult three days, but I am really pleased with the final result.

“We definitely made the step with rear tyre performance, which allowed me to be much more consistent, compared with the last Sepang test and last year’s race.”

Smith was ninth fastest after the three-day test which was led by nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi and Spanish Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.

The opening grand prix of the season is under the floodlights in Qatar on March 23.