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MotoGP Valencia: Smith, Espargaro ready to settle top satellite battle

"I am determined to close 2014 on a high note and win the fight for sixth position in the championship standings" - Bradley Smith.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith head to the Valencia MotoGP finale separated by seven points in the battle for sixth overall and the top satellite rider in this year's world championship.

Pol's older brother Aleix, having already wrapped up the Open class crown, is also in contention, sitting just two points behind Smith.

The Espargaro brothers have struggled in the last two rounds - Aleix crashing out twice and Pol once, then riding injured at Sepang - while Smith has claimed a career-best third followed by a solid fifth.

Pol's seven point advantage is looking especially precarious given the fractured bone in his left foot, but the Spaniard is eager to conclude his rookie season in style.

"We will finally return to Europe this weekend where my debut season in the premier class comes to an end,” he said. “It goes without saying that I aim to finish with a strong performance to underline the progress we made during the last 12 months. Luckily I have had some time to recover and the most significant thing is that I didn't require any surgery, after the injury I sustained in Sepang.

“Although I still may not be 100% fit, I am fully determined and confident of riding to a top result in order to clinch sixth in the championship. Furthermore, I also want to thank my team for the great job this year by finishing in a high scoring position.

“The Yamaha will be strong here due to the meandering nature of the track but the competition will be tough as always. After a positive season of learning a huge amount, I am ready to intend once again to finish as the leading satellite bike in my last appearance as a MotoGP rookie."

Smith meanwhile has his sights set on exactly the same prize.

"I'm very excited to go to Valencia this weekend for the important last race of the year,” began the Briton. “My performances over the previous two rounds have been strong and I fully intend to continue this form at the season finale. Yet, I must say that I'm a bit disappointed that we are close to the end as the racing calendar seems to pass by far too quickly, as always!

“Valencia is a track I enjoy riding at and I have had good success there in previous years in all classes, but particularly in 2010 where I won the 125cc race from third on the grid. I undertook an extremely productive test last season after the final GP, so we already have a strong base setting and a lap time which we must chase.

“Obviously the conditions do change with every visit, but I feel optimistic for the challenge. Furthermore, I am determined to close 2014 on a high note and win the fight for sixth position in the championship standings."

Stefan Bradl (17 points from Pol Espargaro) and Andrea Iannone (24 points) also have a mathematical chance of sixth in the final standings.

Tagged as: Smith , Espargaro

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November 05, 2014 9:16 PM

Rexxy, Pol has had a brilliant year, but Smith has been closer to him later in the season, so why would he suddenly start to thrash him next year? As witnessed in the last couple of races, Smith is also still improving.

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