MotoGP » Bradley Smith:

A brilliant weekend

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"Finally thank you for your support throughout my rookie MotoGP season. When the going got tough - and I can tell you it did on some dark occasions - you stuck with me..."

What a brilliant weekend. I came back to England last week - for the first time since Valencia - and on Saturday met Prince William Duke of Cambridge on the Yamaha stand at Motorcycle Live.

The night before I was home in Oxford to win the Oxfordshire Sportsman of the Year title - on the day after my birthday! Not a bad couple of days.

I was more nervous meeting the Prince than I was before the start of a MotoGP race because he's a cool character but with such a great presence. It was a proud moment meeting him on the Yamaha stand and he asked me all about MotoGP and when the first race is next year. He was really interested in the off road bikes because he'd been riding in Africa with Riders For Health a few years ago.

It's been a long hard fight on the track since I last won the Oxfordshire Sports Awards in 2009 and it's great to win it back. There is obviously so much great talent in Oxfordshire which makes it so special to be recognised by your home county.

I was born and brought up in Oxford and have lived in and around the City for the last 23 years which makes me an Oxford boy through and through. It was a special moment when I stood on the stage at the Kassam Stadium and it's nice to finally win something this year!

Motorcycle sport may not have the same focus as somewhere like Spain and we may not see a motorcycle racer on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for some time but locally our exploits are both noticed and honoured. As well as myself Scott Redding, Eugene Laverty and Chaz Davis have all won regional awards in the last couple of years.

I'd even surprised myself in that test in Valencia after the final grand prix of the year. I didn't expect the new bike to be as good as it was but luckily for me everything fell into place. The bike gave me the feeling I'd been looking for all year. All the areas I'd been looking for the bike just ticked the boxes and it was double whammy for me. I was able to improve around a second a lap on race pace on the hard tyre which I was really pleased with.

On the last lap on the second day I was able to squeeze out that 1m 30.5s lap which was a brilliant way to cap off the year and to show Yamaha with an upgrade what I could do.




Tagged as: Smith

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