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Bradley Smith secures seventh, unable to beat Cal Crutchlow in the final corners after a near crash.
The Motul Grand Prix of Japan was a tough weekend for Bradley Smith, Qualifying saw the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider crash twice and rain on race day had him and the team frantically searching for a wet setting. After a difficult wet Warm Up, Smith was unsure how the race would play out and had hoped for a dry race. The race began to dry, but only after the half way point which meant riders were forced to battle each other and tyre wear. A close fight between Smith and fellow Brit Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was a highlight of the race, Smith barely saving a late fall which granted Crutchlow the edge. The MotoGP™ World Championship now head to Phillip Island, the sight of Smith’s first premier class podium in 2014.
Bradley Smith: “I am pleased with today’s result after the difficult start that we had in warm up this morning as we finally managed to turn it around and perform well even in the wet conditions. When the morning session began, we ran with the base setting that we used at Silverstone, which I wasn’t overly happy with but it was the only wet setting that we had. To be honest, it didn’t work and we were down the order so I expected the race to be even more difficult. I crossed my fingers for dry weather as I knew that if that occurred, I could attack and do a good job, yet it wasn’t to be. However, the team adjusted the bike and shortened the wheelbase in order to find some more grip for me and it worked really well. At the beginning of the race, I needed to get used to the new setting and adjust myself, but the feeling came quickly and then I started working my way through the field.”
“It was a shame that Crutchlow passed me on the final lap but my front tyre was really worn and I think that the Honda had a little bit more towards the end. Also, I was a little bit lucky because I was leading Cal until turn 11 and there I tucked the front but saved it with my elbow, so as a result he powered past me. Anyway, I am not too disappointed because I was in the leading satellite battle and we really improved a lot from the warm up. I may have lost 5th in the championship but it was to the rider who won the race, so I can’t be too upset. Next up is Phillip Island, which I am looking forward to. Last year I had a good feeling there and the Yamaha is known for running well at that track. Therefore, bearing in mind all of the improvements that we have made to the bike, the feeling and my riding style, it should be a good weekend. I can’t promise a repeat of last year’s podium but I’ll try my very best!”
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