Bradley Smith's sixth place finish at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina was better than the British rider had anticipated as he finished in the top eight for the third successive race.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider, who opted to run with the hard compound rear tyre, feels he lost around three or four seconds on the opening lap after attempting to gain some places at the first corner, where he was pushed wide onto the dusty part of the track.

"Today I'm really happy about taking home this sixth position as this is actually better than we expected during some points of the weekend," said Smith.

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"Before the race, I was still undecided about which compound of rear tyre to use as the tyre life is vital at this track due to the grip issues we have had all week.

"We made a few changes in between the warm up and the race including the decision to go for the hard compound. It was a shame that the first corner didn't go to plan, like it did last week and I wasn't able to go around the outside and make up some places," he added.

"A few guys got in underneath me who were riding on the racing line, whilst I was on the dirty section of the track. Afterwards, when you lose three or four seconds because of a tricky start like this, it's impossible to get back with the leading bikes as the lap times are so similar."

Smith, though, was more than satisfied with his final position and is now feeling confident ahead of the championship's run of European rounds, which commence at Jerez on May 3.

"I will gladly take this result as it confirms my third consistent race finish in the top eight, which is a far better start to the season compared to last year," Smith said.

"So now I am looking forward to Jerez with confidence as I can't wait to return to race in Europe in two weeks time."

Smith's team-mate, Pol Espargaro, said his result of eighth place was as good as he could have hoped for after the Spaniard qualified in 18th during a troubled weekend.

"I can't be disappointed with the result considering where we started. The first few laps were quite positive as I was able to put myself right behind the two Pramac bikes as well as [Maverick] Vinales," he said.

"However after this, [Yonny] Hernandez' bike caught fire right in front of me and I lost a lot of time compared to Brad and my brother.

"By the time he pulled over, the gap to my brother who was in front of me, was already a bit too big. I tried to recover some time on him and Bradley, but it didn't go according to plan," he added.

"To go from 18th to eighth is not a bad result as we managed to limit the damage and take home some valuable points. It was clearly not our best race, but I'm really looking forward to going back to Europe and competing at the race tracks where I know I am strong."