12 October 2015
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.”
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