By Neil Morrison

Bradley Smith concluded a difficult weekend by finishing eighth in the Japanese MotoGP race at Motegi, enough to make him the highest scoring British rookie in the history of the premier-class.

Having suffered from braking problems during the final stages of Saturday's qualifying session, Smith was forced to start from a lowly 13th position but soon found himself at the sharp end of the top ten after an extraordinary start.

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Like eventual race winner Jorge Lorenzo, Smith chose Bridgestone's softer rear tyre option and the gamble seemed to pay off as he spent the first three laps inside the top six, eventually dropping behind fellow Valentino Rossi and Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Cal Crutchlow at the close of the race.

Smith entered the weekend needing just seven points in the last two races to become the highest scoring British rookie in the MotoGP class, overtaking James Toseland's tally from 2008.

"I'm pleased with the eighth position. I knew it would be been a tricky race starting from 13th, but fortunately I made a good start and I was trying to push at my maximum right from the off so that I was able to follow Bradl during the first laps."

Looking at Smith's times his consistency was exemplary and he managed to complete every flying lap inside the 1min 47secs bracket.

"We definitely made some improvements on a full fuel load during this weekend and it helped me a lot to find a good rhythm. I saw Valentino making a mistake at the beginning of the race, so I knew he might come back and I just tried to follow him when he passed me," he said.

"Today was probably the smallest gap to the other satellite riders so far and that makes me happy, especially considering that we had just one dry session this morning to set the bike up."

With tenth position in the championship all but secured Smith is heading to Valencia hoping to finish the season on a high.

"I'm pleased with the progress we made during the season and now I'm just looking forward to a good race in Valencia to end the championship on a high."