Smith is one of a number of riders with premier-class experience to be taking on the MotoE World Cup in 2019, and will dovetail his ride with the SIC-run ‘One Energy Racing’ team with his new Aprilia MotoGP test commitments.
The Briton was present for a partially-wet first-ever day of testing for the new electric class at Jerez on Friday, ending up with the fourth-fastest time, 0.618 seconds adrift of pacesetter Niki Tuuli (Ajo).
“I am positively surprised with the handling of the bike and the way it has performed here at Jerez,” commented Smith.
“Nice to ride in both conditions, I think it’s sometimes good to ride in the wet because the limits are a little bit slower and you can go at a slower pace and get a bit more feeling from the rain tyres.
“It looks like they turn quite well and the power delivery doesn’t upset the bike and you don’t spin so much. A lot of the laptime for me is how you can brake into the corners and carry corner speed.
“We’ve already got our heads around which direction we need to go, and then it’s just continuing maybe with two or three different options doing the same thing and following that. Just continuing to figure out these bikes.”
Finnish rider Tuuli ended the opening day of testing with a slender advantage of 0.121s over Avintia rider Eric Granado, while Randy de Puniet was third-fastest for the LCR team.
The former World Supersport and Moto2 rider also praised the way the new MotoE machine handles.
“I really enjoyed the riding,” remarked Tuuli. “We made a good step from this morning, we improved every time, so we just need to continue like this. But so far, so good.
“This bike is quite easy to ride in fast corners, I struggle more in the tight corners. It’s quite difficult to brake and trying to stop, so there we can improve more. But I think in the fast corners the bike is really good to ride.”
Pramac rider Alex de Angelis, fifth-fastest, added: “I’m very impressed in a very good way. Even if we start in rain condition, it was a really wet track this morning, I felt immediately comfortable.
“It was really funny because when you accelerate the bike starts sliding. I was looking for the clutch, but there is no clutch!”
Testing continues on Saturday and Sunday, with the MotoE runners sharing the track with Moto2 in Jerez.