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Bradley Smith recovered from a poor start to produce a thrilling battle with his teammate that went down to the wire.
From 11th on the grid, Bradley Smith made a slow and steady start to the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar, hauling himself to tenth at the end of the first lap. As the race went on the Brit was able to settle into his race rhythm and saw rapid improvement, catching the riders ahead by the middle of the race. Before long Smith and his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate, Pol Espargaro, were together and the two produced a hard and thrilling battle to the line. Espargaro crossed just 0.023s ahead of Smith, his four kilogram weight advantage allowing him to pull just ahead of the Brit as they roared out of the final corner. An eighth place finish is not exactly what Smith had hoped for, but does mark his 25th consecutive MotoGP™ race in the points.
Smith may have been 0.023s behind his teammate but he was 18.652 second behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), 5.738 seconds further back than in 2015. However, the 2016 edition of the Qatar GP was seven seconds faster than in 2015 which results in a net positive gain on Smith’s race pace. The new rules may make it easier for riders like Smith to battle the factory riders, but they have also closed up the field and increased the battling mid-pack.
Just before the race it was announced that Bradley Smith will join the KTM Factory Racing Team for 2017 and 2018.
Bradley Smith: “I am pleased with the race result today, but the start was a complete disaster, so from there onwards, I knew that things could only get better! I tried to make a few passes in the opening laps and found myself in the position with the other satellite riders. Then I tried to get into my rhythm and aimed to not make any mistakes. In addition, I wanted to understand as much as I could with the new setup for the race and how the bike behaved in the 22 laps. As time ticked down, I got into a good fight with my teammate, plus he was really strong on the brakes into the first corner. Before that, I passed Barbera when he made a mistake and after having finally an open track in front of me, I got some confidence, put my head down and went for it.
“It was fun chasing Pol with three laps to go and it’s been a while since we’ve had a really tough battle like that. On the last lap, I made the pass into the final corner, but the fact that he is four kilos lighter than me made the difference on the way to the line! It’s been a very tough weekend and we started on a difficult note on Thursday and Friday, yet the team did a fantastic job and kept on working hard. We stayed focused and in the end we came away with 8th position, which is already one place better than last year. In addition, we are only one point away from our target which is to be the top satellite bike and so we will try to rectify that in Argentina.”
1 year ago
1 year ago
#squad ☑️ Cheers boys for the solid effort all weekend not the result that we all wanted but we are getting closer and closer to our goal doesn't the livery look sweet
1 year ago
1 year ago