Bad luck at opening round for Tech3 pair

Bad luck at opening round for Tech3 pair
Monday, 24 March 2014

Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro suffered bad luck during an eventful opening race of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship at the Commercial Bank of Qatar Grand Prix.

Both Tech3 riders failed to finish the race with Smith falling whilst challenging for a podium position on lap 19, and Spanish rookie Espargaro retiring with a mechanical issue on lap 18.

The opening race began in emphatic fashion for Smith, who qualified in a personal best ever position of third on the front row of the MotoGP grid. The young English rider was in second place during the opening laps and was in contention for leading the Grand Prix, before settling into a steady rhythm.

The Tech3 rider remained close to the front for the duration of the race, and as he was preparing his attack on the leading four on lap 19, he lost the front of his Yamaha YZR-M1 at turn 6.

“It’s plain to see that this wasn’t the ideal way to finish the opening race of the season as I gave everything that I possibly could have during the race,” he acknowledged. “I was feeling good on the bike, however it was difficult to close the final second to the front runners but with five or six laps to go I was determined to try and catch them. Unfortunately, I then fell.”

“I want to thank my team, especially after the big crash and the repairs that they had to do on Friday. Now I need to refocus a little bit, taking all the positives out of this weekend and then go to Austin with this new found confidence and be as competitive there”.

Espargaro’s positive form during the preseason and free practice sessions unfortunately came to an unsuccessful conclusion at the opening race at the floodlit Qatar circuit, due to a technical problem causing him to pull into the pits and retire.

The reigning Moto2 World Champion ran competitively all weekend and impressed with his rookie performances on the MotoGP bike during all sessions. He held eighth position when a gearbox issue struck on lap 18 with only four laps remaining.

“I really can’t say that luck helped us today, even if we deserved it after this weekend,” he commented. “We didn’t start with the best of terms as I am still not completely healed from my shoulder injury. Then I crashed on Friday and my confidence fell slightly. The good news was that my injury didn’t worsen because of this, and the team did a great job helping me to raise my confidence.”

“With regards to today, it’s unfortunate that this happened as I could have finished inside the top six on my MotoGP debut. I am still happy with my performance because the results all weekend were competitive.”

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