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MotoGP Japan: Smith: Near-miss cost me sixth in Cal battle

'I was a little bit lucky because I was leading Cal until turn 11 and there I tucked the front but saved it with my elbow, so as a result he powered past me' - Bradley Smith.
Bradley Smith felt he was unlucky to lose out to fellow Briton Cal Crutchlow as the pair battled it out for sixth place on the final lap of the Japanese MotoGP.

Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Smith and Crutchlow on the LCR Honda went head-to-head at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit in the final stages and it was Crutchlow who narrowly came out on top.

Smith, though, had managed to keep his nose in front until turn 11 on the final lap, where the 24-year-old revealed he almost lost the front, costing him crucial momentum and allowing the Honda rider to power past.

“It was a shame that Crutchlow passed me on the final lap but my front tyre was really worn and I think that the Honda had a little bit more towards the end,” said Smith.

“Also, I was a little bit lucky because I was leading Cal until turn 11 and there I tucked the front but saved it with my elbow, so as a result he powered past me.

“Anyway, I am not too disappointed because I was in the leading satellite battle and we really improved a lot from the warm up,” added Smith.

“I may have lost fifth in the championship [to Dani Pedrosa] but it was to the rider who won the race, so I can't be too upset. Next up is Phillip Island, which I am looking forward to.”

Smith struggled during morning warm-up after the setting used by the team in the wet at Silverstone failed to instil confidence in the British rider but a few changes to the set-up of his satellite M1 prior to the race proved a step in the right direction.

“I am pleased with today's result after the difficult start that we had in warm-up this morning as we finally managed to turn it around and perform well even in the wet conditions,” he said.

“When the morning session began, we ran with the base setting that we used at Silverstone, which I wasn't overly happy with but it was the only wet setting that we had. To be honest, it didn't work and we were down the order so I expected the race to be even more difficult.

“I crossed my fingers for dry weather as I knew that if that occurred, I could attack and do a good job, yet it wasn't to be,” Smith added.

“However, the team adjusted the bike and shortened the wheelbase in order to find some more grip for me and it worked really well. At the beginning of the race, I needed to get used to the new setting and adjust myself, but the feeling came quickly and then I started working my way through the field.”

Looking ahead to Phillip Island, Smith isn't promising a repeat of his maiden premier class rostrum in Australia last year but is optimistic of another strong result at a circuit where the Yamaha performs well.

“Last year I had a good feeling there and the Yamaha is known for running well at that track. Therefore, bearing in mind all of the improvements that we have made to the bike, the feeling and my riding style, it should be a good weekend,” he said.

“I can't promise a repeat of last year's podium but I'll try my very best.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Smith, Crutchlow Japanese MotoGP Race 2015
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP 2016
Reddng, Petrucci, Smith Australian MotoGP 2016
Barbera, Smith Australian MotoGP 2016
Bradl, Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Bradl, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Vinales, Australian MotoGP 2016
Miller, Smith Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Barbera, Bradl Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Bradl, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Marquez, Crutchlow Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Pol Espargaro, Crutchlow Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Crutchlow pretending to throw Rossi’s helmet to the crowd, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Maverick Vinales, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP Race 2016

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October 12, 2015 12:06 PM

Bradley went back to about 12th and Pol got up to about 7th. These days you know Bradley is going to fight his way back up the order but he needs to stick with it in the early laps and be a little more aggressive with people trying to make passes on him. Pol must have been crying in his helmet when Brad came past him mid way through the race.


October 12, 2015 12:32 PM

The 12th position was probably Brad getting used to the new set up, you can't win a race on the first lap but (apart from Lorenzo) but you can certainly lose one. There are also two trains of thoughts with regards to battling for position. 1. Protect the line or reclaim the position aggressively. This slows both riders down and allows the riders in front to breakaway (unless they are riding like you) and end up with a battle for low positions because to are too far away from the group in front. 2. Concede the position smoothly, keep in touch with the leading group and when things settle down start making the moves up the order as you have not lost too much time to the group in front. I think Brad takes the second approach, quick to the first corner as he always seems to make a few places then keep it smooth and see how it pans out in the next few laps, it's not just about being aggressive but also about being smart.

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