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Smith column: The gambling man.

It was so disheartening on Sunday to watch the other riders' race past me and disappear after I'd led the way from the start of the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at Brno but I promise you there was nothing I could do. At the end, the best I could have hoped for was that sixth place to retain my seventh place in the World Championship.

The race was always going to be a lottery after so much rain in practice and qualifying. The set-up of the bike in the dry had to be a gamble but after we'd led the morning warm-up we were very confident.

I made a great start from the front row of the grid and led for a couple until the others found their feet and raced past me. They were lapping half a second faster than me and every time I tried to stay with them I was in trouble getting the bike to stop and turn.

One thing I've learned this season in this situation is to not make any mistakes and ride your own steady race. That's exactly what I did and picked up some valuable points which after the problems with the weather resulting in lack of dry track time was the best we could do – not that I'm happy about it.

Brno is a great track and there were nearly 150,000 people there on Sunday but the weather left a lot to be desired. The new track surface was dirty on Friday morning and it rained in the afternoon. It rained on Saturday morning and there was little point going out in the afternoon, once again on the wet track.

After so much rain it was always going to be dry on race day. We gambled a bit with the set-up for the warm-up in the morning but it worked because I was half a second quicker than anybody else. However, some of the other teams obviously gambled even more in the race and took a risk with their dry weather setting but it paid off. Perhaps they kept their cards close to their chests in the warm-up but nobody expected them to be lapping in two minutes eight seconds. We thought lap times would be around two minutes nine seconds but we were wrong and the winner Stefan Bradl certainly seemed to have the perfect set-up as he raced to his first grand prix win.

Of course I envied him but I still really believe my first win will come very soon and in these final six races. At the start of the year I was not riding hard enough at the start but I've cracked that particular problem. We keep ticking the right boxes, it's just getting them all ticked on the same day.

It's hard not to get frustrated but the team and everybody around me are very focused and very positive. The next race at Misano in Italy is a massive event for my Polaris World Aprilia team. It's their home grand prix and Mattia Pasini won the race for them last year and there is nothing more I could hope for than winning again to thank them for everything they do for me.

I was eighth last year in a difficult weekend when it rained so hard on Friday, everything was cancelled. I'm going to spend the week with the team to get prepared for the biggest race of the year for them.

It would be the perfect venue to win that first grand prix. I'm so confident that victory will come but it's just taking longer than we all expected.

Bradley

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Related Pictures

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Smith, Czech 125GP Race 2008
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith, Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Smith, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Smith, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Smith, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Smith, Jojic Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Smith, Jojic Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Smith, Valencia MotoGP test, November 2016
Smith, Valencia MotoGP test, November 2016
Smith, Valencia MotoGP test, November 2016
Smith, Valencia MotoGP test, November 2016
Smith, Valencia MotoGP test, November 2016
Crutchlow, Smith Valencia MotoGP race 2016

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