By Neil Morrison

A front brake 'issue' meant Bradley Smith could do no better than 13th during Saturday's qualifying session for the penultimate round of the Moto GP World Championship at Motegi.

Smith had been circulating as high as seventh place and ahead of his more experienced teammate during the lone 75-minute Saturday session but an issue with the front brake prevented him from improving further.

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While those around him bettered their times Smith eventually slipped back to a fifth row start.

"In my first run I felt surprisingly comfortable on the Bridgestone rain tyres because I don't have that much experience on them," he said. "The grip in the wet on this track is unbelievable and you can see that when Lorenzo is only eight seconds off the dry lap record.

"I was up to seventh and feeling optimistic that I could stay around that position but at the end of the session I had a small front brake issue and it was hard to stop the bike. With six really hard braking points here that cost me a lot of time and I think my pace was much quicker.

"It will be a difficult race starting from 13th and it looks like it will be dry tomorrow, so hopefully our base setting will work because we only have 50 minutes in practice to work on the race package."

Smith sits tenth in the World Championship, twelve points behind Nicky Hayden. The 22-year old only needs to score seven points in Japan and Valencia to become the highest scoring British rookie in the MotoGP class.