No luck for sensational Smith in Catalunya
Posted on Jun 05, 2011 by Tech3 Racing
Tech 3 Racing Team rider Bradley Smith put on an all-action display for a crowd of over 81,000 fans during the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya this afternoon, but bad luck ended his bid for a maiden podium finish in the ultra-competitive Moto2 class.
Smith's 19th position on the result sheet doesn't do justice to a fantastic ride from the impressive British rookie, who set the fastest lap of the 23-lap encounter with a 1.47.762, while also producing an overtaking masterclass.
The 20-year-old lost eight places on the opening lap, but he immediately set about recovering from 14th and was straight into a fast rhythm. By the end of lap four he was already on the fringes of the top ten. But just when he was poised to continue his rapid progression through the field, he was lucky not to crash having been caught up in a high speed crash involving Thomas Luthi and 2010 Catalunya Moto2 winner Yuki Takahashi.
Smith's Mistral 610 machine suffered damage to the bodywork and he dropped back to 18th while he battled to adjust a bent clutch lever. The incident barely knocked Smith out of his stride and a series of breathtaking overtakes saw him move into the top six on lap 16. Eighth going into the final lap, Smith was trying to fight his way into contention for a top six when he ran off track having clipped a damp white line in the braking zone for Turn 10. He brilliantly kept control of his Mistral 610 machine to finish 19th, a result which didn't show his true potential. Today's race though proved Smith has the capability to fight at the front when he takes part in his crucial home race at Silverstone next weekend.
Bradley Smith 19th – 27 points:
“That was a disappointing race obviously, even if I made a lot of overtakes and set the fastest lap of the race, it was not the outcome we wanted. I was on the wet part of the track at the start and then I had a lot of wheelspin, so I lost a few places. I was working my way through the field and then there was the accident with Lüthi and Takahashi and my fairing broke and the impact affected the clutch, so I was playing around with the clutch for nearly half a lap to try and get it working again. But I was lucky not to crash and it was a big moment. Then I started to catch the group again and had a very good feeling and I was in the battle for fifth. But the clutch started to have a problem at the end of the race. It started with the incident earlier and I think it was just a little bit worn out at the end. I actually ran off because my rear tyre touched the white line and it was still damp from the rain and I was lucky not to crash. I am now really excited to go to Silverstone for my home race. It is another track that is fast and flowing like here, so I think that is definitely going to suit our bike. It is disappointing I didn't get any points at this race, but we can't be negative, there were so many positive things. I'm sure we will be fighting again at the front at Silverstone.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
"Since the beginning of the season we've had a lot of bad luck, but I thought this period was over. Bradley's start was average, but he recovered incredibly well. When I saw him getting fastest lap after fastest lap I thought there was a really good chance of a really good result, maybe even a podium. But he had some bad luck again and that is frustrating, because he was really demonstrating his talent and the potential of the Mistral 610 machine, That he had the fastest lap of the race gives us some confidence that he had the chance to be a potential podium finisher today and we know Bradley's first podium isn't going to be too far away. Mike crashed today, as there was a very small crack in the crankcase that leaked some oil on the tyre and that was the reason for his crash. But he has never been on the pace the whole weekend, so he has to do something about that. The only good point is that Bradley is in a good shape and he is fast and we go to a track where he can be very competitive for the Tech3 Racing Team."