Eagerly awaiting a new Tech 3 contract, Bradley Smith produced his best qualifying result of the season with fifth on the grid for Sunday's Czech Republic MotoGP at Brno.

The Englishman briefly held second in the crucial closing stages of Q2 before being bumped back by factory stars Marc Marquez (Honda), Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Andrea Iannone (Ducati).

Nevertheless, Smith was only a tenth of a second away from championship leader Rossi and a front row start.

Related Articles

"I am very happy with my performance today as it is my second consecutive qualifying result on the front two rows after the summer break," said Smith, looking to protect his fifth place, as the top satellite rider, in the world championship standings.

"This is especially rewarding because my main focus for the remaining races was to improve my grid positions as we lost too much time at the beginning of the races earlier this year.

"In FP4 we tried various different settings and some were positive and others were not as good but the team made a combination of these and in the end I went out on a bike in Q2 with a setting which I hadn't ridden yet. It was a bit risky, but it turned out to be a good choice by the team and I have to thank them for their great work.

"I am only half a second from the pole time and again, I was fighting with the Factory Yamaha for the front row, and so I have to be happy. The top five riders were a big step above the other guys on the single lap pace, however I'm sure it will be different in the race.

"The important thing tomorrow will be to get a good start as it will be a long, tough one and so, tyre management is vital. We will try to make some small improvements tonight, especially for tyre preservation and I will test them tomorrow morning. However, I'm pretty sure that we have the right bike to do a good job."

Smith is currently three points ahead of factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, who starts sixth on the grid. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and team-mate Pol Espargaro, Smith's closest satellite rivals, will start eighth and tenth respectively.