13 April 2015
MotoGP Austin: Smith in factory mix during ‘best performance’
“I got sixth, top satellite, and ten seconds behind the leader, so the best performance so far of my MotoGP career” - Bradley Smith.
Bradley Smith savoured his best performance as a MotoGP rider in Sunday's Americas Grand Prix.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 star stuck with the factory stars for the first half of the race, eventually crossing the line in sixth position.
But the Englishman's ten second deficit to winner Marc Marquez was closer than during his debut podium at Phillip Island last season.
“It was a great race, beginning with a great start. Being able to jump from tenth on the grid to fourth was pretty awesome,” Smith said. “The risk of going round the outside of Turn 1 paid off. I had seen that in previous races, other riders had got pinched on the inside, so I went round the outside and it worked.
“I was sat comfortably for the first five laps, but when Marc kicked past Andrea, I didn't have that pace to go with them. I was that concentrated on staying with the group that I forgot to hit some of my traction control buttons. So I overheated the tyre a little bit and lost the pace.
“The first map has a bit more power and a bit more grunt for using the tyre at the beginning of the race, which is usually for the first five to seven laps, depending on the track. I probably stayed over half race distance on it, so a bit too long. The second map cuts in a bit earlier to save the old tyre.
“We didn't really know what to expect from the track conditions, so [changing the map] is just down to feel. But I was that focused on what was going on in front of me that I didn't really think much about what the bike was doing. Maybe it would have helped a couple of seconds up the road, but it wouldn't have changed my position overall.
“At the end of the day I was pleased with the outcome. I got sixth place, top satellite, and ten seconds behind the leader, so the best performance so far of my MotoGP career. I've got to be happy with that.”
Smith, who finished six seconds clear of next-best satellite rider Cal Crutchlow, emphasised how vital it had been to get away with the lead group - both in terms of avoiding trouble and pulling clear of his competitors.
“As we saw with Pol - I don't know what Scott was thinking. I understand everyone makes mistakes, but I didn't know where he was going into the corner - as long as you're in the front, you're not riding round with those type of risky people.
“That's the key, especially with sector 1 being so one line, it's important to get away with the guys, and also, they pull you along. By the time everything shook itself out, I was a good chunk ahead of Cal, which makes a massive difference. That's the type of thing that I need to continue to do, hopefully from a better qualifying position in the future."
Smith is now tied on points with Crutchlow for sixth in the world championship standings heading into next weekend's third round in Argentina.
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