First front row start for Smith

First front row start for Smith
Saturday, 22 March 2014

Bradley Smith claimed his first ever MotoGP™ front row start at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar on Saturday.

 

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider recovered well from a big highside in FP3, to post a 1’54.901 time in Q2, taking third place on the grid.

Smith’s best previous qualifying results in the premier class had been two sixth places, first at Assen and then another at Valencia in 2013.

The three days of testing which Smith and several other MotoGP riders had in Qatar two weeks ago helped them to contest for pole position with the factory bikes of Repsol Honda and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP. Smith’s 2014 Qatar qualifying time was 1.414s faster than last year.

For a few moments it even looked as though the Oxfordshire rider could claim his first pole position, but Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and World Champion Marquez ultimately pushed him down to third.

Smith reflected, “It definitely got off on the wrong foot yesterday by having the big crash. Luckily I got away with no injury and we turned up at the track today with the bike working really well. We were very confident in Free Practice 4.”

He continued, “In the first run we strung two really solid laps together. In the second run me, (Aleix )Espargaro and Marc were playing a bit of cat and mouse. I didn’t want to risk anything as I felt the tyres had already gotten cold, so I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t get a second go at it. But I’m pleased to hang onto third position and excited for tomorrow’s race. Getting a good start is going to be important, I feel really good with a full fuel tank so we’re looking forward to it.”

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