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Valencia MotoGP: First thing Smith learned was ‘MotoGP is scary!’

"It's less scary now but some of this stuff is nuts” - Bradley Smith
Sunday's season closing Valencia MotoGP marks the end of Bradley Smith's rookie season.

The Englishman, who holds the record for most points by a British rookie, came into the premier class with Tech 3 having received lots of criticism for promoting Smith. But Smith has progressed throughout the year and shown that he deserves his place amongst the world's elite riders.

Having ridden a MotoGP bike for the first time at the post Valencia Grand Prix test twelve months ago Smith spoke about his progression over the last year and what he has learned.

"I only learned from that test that MotoGP is scary!" said Smith. "It's less scary now but some of this stuff is nuts and how hard we have to ride these motorcycles is still way beyond what you think possible. Philip Island was one of those places that was a real eye opener. It's not comfortable that's for certain but it's absolutely fun!

"I think that scary for us is a form of fun and interest. You really feel that the rider can make a difference and the rider has to. With these electronic aids you have to find a way of squeezing everything out of the bike. You've got more than enough power to get the job done but you've got to find the best way to get that out onto the race track.

"That's one of the things that the riders enjoy about riding in MotoGP but it's one of the difficult things in races because if you turn up and someone has a better bike that it doesn't really matter what you do it's very difficult to make up that difference and that's what we see with the factory boys. Whoever has the right setting at that track is able to have that lead but we're talking three seconds over 25 laps which is nothing."

When asked what has been the biggest challenge for him during the season Smith admitted that being able to process everything that comes at you on a prototype was difficult. Moving from Moto2 to MotoGP meant jumping onto a 260 bhp machine capable of much higher speeds and where the challenge lies in being able to adapt and comprehend everything that occurs in advance to be prepared to react:

"Being able to ride at 350 kmp/h and not feel it's fast is one of the things with this machine. How fast you accelerate and how quickly things come towards and being able to slow that down in your head has been one of the things. You can't teach yourself that it you have to ride a whole season to let it happen."

Next week's post-race test will see Smith receive a new version of the M1, having spent his debut season on a specification of machine understood to be close to that used by predecessor Andrea Dovizioso in 2012.

“I believe I'll get the new bike to try on Monday which I'm excited about. This year has been a learning year so I've had no real upgrades throughout the season, but still the bike is capable of far better than I'm doing. But of course everyone likes something new to try and I'm looking forward to the three days.”

Moto2 world champion Pol Espargaro will ride alongside Smith at Tech 3 next year.

Tagged as: Smith

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November 08, 2013 7:58 AM

Scared or not he is racing in motogp which I am sure was a dream come true and he is not doing a bad job at it. What level of Motorsport have you reached Fullofit? I am a fan of all the guys that race and of course I have my favourite but I would never doubt anyone's ability to race equipment to it's full potential who has gone so far beyond my own level. Do I think he will be a Motogp champion? Probably not but you have to respect a kid who can hang with the top 10 riders in the World.


November 08, 2013 8:08 AM

@Fullofit - I'm sure that your insight is far better informed than that of Herve Poncheral and that you'd be much better at choosing and mentoring riders, with your extensive behind the scenes MotoGP paddock knowledge...

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