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Career-best sixth place for Bradley Smith

Career-best sixth place for Bradley Smith

Bradley Smith kept out of trouble to secure a sixth place finish in Sunday’s Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya – the best of his MotoGP™ to date.

From 11th on the starting grid, the Oxford-born rider benefitted from problems in front of him but also overhauled Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso in the closing stages.

“Obviously today was a much more positive result for me, even if sixth position looks a bit better than it really is,” comments Smith, who two weeks ago in Italy suffered a crash in which he suffered wrist and finger injuries. “It the end you have to finish the race to score the points and I did that in difficult conditions while not at my 100% physical best, so it is a great result for the team and me.

“I really focused on the first eight laps trying not to make any mistakes and trying to stay as close to Dovizioso and (Stefan) Bradl because I knew they should have been more or less on the same race pace as me. I tried to attack (Aleix) Espargaro as quickly as possible so I didn’t lose too much time and I managed that. Finally, to be in a fight with Andrea towards the closing laps of the race - knowing that he has been always very strong during this part of the race - was obviously something special and makes me feel proud.”

It was a tougher afternoon for teammate Cal Crutchlow, who slid out of fourth place at Turn 7 on the tenth lap.

“Obviously I am disappointed that a great weekend ended with a crash and I have to hold my hands up and say it was a stupid mistake on my part,” admitted Crutchlow, who had topped the pre-race Warm-Up session and had finished on the podium at the previous two events in France and Italy.

“Like last season and again in the first few races of 2013, I have been struggling to stop the bike in the early laps with a full fuel load. I was giving it my all to stay in the battle with the top three and unfortunately I hit the kerb on the inside and crashed. It was a silly mistake and I am sorry to the team because I am confident I could have stayed in the fight for the podium right to the end.”

Crutchlow remains fourth in the riders’ standings despite his non-scoring Sunday, whereas 11th-placed Smith has moved to within two points of the top ten.

MotoGP, 2013, GRAN PREMI APEROL DE CATALUNYA, Bradley Smith, Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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