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MotoGP Silverstone: Smith content to close wet weather gap

Bradley Smith is pleased with improvements to his wet weather riding compared to 2014, extends lead over next best 'Satellite' rider
Bradley Smith chose to take the positives from his British MotoGP race, which saw him lose out on a top-six finish at the death to countryman Scott Redding.

A day after topping fellow 'Satellite' runners Redding and Cal Crutchlow in qualifying, Smith battled with rear grip issues throughout the 20-lap race on a bike that had very little set-up time in the rain.

While the 24-year old didn't have the outright pace of Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro on the day, another smart, considered display brought Smith seventh place and a haul of nine points. He now sits 32 ahead of next-best 'Satellite' runner Danilo Petrucci.

What's more, Smith pointed to his wet-weather performances through 2014, which he described as “dreadful”, and his subsequent improvements in the rain as reason to be positive.

“The last time I rode in the rain competitively I was five seconds a lap slower than Jorge Lorenzo. We completely didn't have any setting. Any time we rode in the rain last year I was dreadful. The team did a great job. I averaged 1.2 seconds off the leader, who was Valentino.

“We know we can improve. Already when I stopped Guy [Coulon – Smith's crew chief] was apologising because he could see the bike was nervous and in some places quite unrideable. He knows what to change for the future races and that leaves me optimistic if there's a rain race in the remainder of the season.

“I thought I did the smart thing. I pushed on the out lap and got round to the pits first so at least I was queuing up in first position ready for the restart. I suppose I was disappointed that they red flagged it because I was one step ahead of the game. Then obviously I got shunned down so I was a little bit disappointed from that point of view.

“It was really, really difficult because of the conditions that were changing and there was a lot more water towards the end. The grip level wasn't too bad and was giving riders confidence. Then a lot of people were aquaplaning going into corners, the rear was quite scary.

“We had the five laps in warm up and the last time we rode in the rain was in Suzuka but on the MotoGP bike I think it was Austin. I think all together we've done 12 laps all season. I think Ducati called the right shots. They rode quite a lot in the rain at Brno and they set up their bike a little bit better than what we did. Nevertheless I'm happy with my performance. We kept it on two wheels and we didn't lose too many points to my championship rivals and I extended my lead in the points championship of the 'Satellite' riders. All in all a positive day.”

In what was ultimately a prophetic warm-up session, Smith felt his race-pace, that was consistently faster than the laps he ran in the morning around a less-drenched track, would have been good enough for a higher finish.

He went on to acknowledge those in front of him “brought their A-game” to the race, which prevented him from finishing higher.

“ I would have liked to have gone for a podium. Going of warm up I felt very confident with the bike but everyone went faster again. I did a 2m 20.0 in warm up and then I think I did my whole race underneath those lap times. Everyone brought their A-game to the race, I just didn't have that extra little step.

“I tried to stay as consistent as I could in the 18s but I slightly missed out today. I suppose it's slightly disappointing. In that battle with Scott at the end, he had just a little bit too much on me to hold onto that position. Like I said I'm happy to cross the line.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Smith, Redding British MotoGP Race 2015
Crutchlow, Malaysian MotoGP 2016
Crutchlow, Malaysian MotoGP 2016
Iannone, Crutchlow, Malaysian MotoGP 2016
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP 2016
Reddng, Petrucci, Smith Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Petrucci Australian MotoGP 2016
Barbera, Smith Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Pol Espargaro, Australian MotoGP 2016
Bradl, Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Redding Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Redding Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP 2016

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