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Pole but no points.

I've just arrived back home from Qatar with a super new Tissot watch but I would willingly swap it for 25 World Championship points. Of course I'm still really bitterly disappointed about the problems we had when I was leading a grand prix for the very first time but there are still so many positives to take from the complete weekend in Qatar.

Perhaps everything was just going too smoothly when race day arrived. I'd led all practice and qualifying sessions despite a couple of crashes when I was just twisting the throttle too early after setting the fastest laps. The crashes just reminded me to calm down.

Even the start of race day (or should I say night) was perfect when I was awarded the Tissot watch and helmet for taking pole position. It was a great way to start race day and took my mind off what lay ahead.

Things started to go wrong during the warm-up session for the race when the bike seized and I had to run back to the pits to just get out on my second machine. The team then had just one and a half hours before the race started to swap engines from bike two to bike one and prepare everything for the race. We finished in time and everything seemed fine but as I prepared to go out for the sighting lap before the race, the bike would not start. I thought I was going to have miss the lap which would have meant I would have had to start from the back of the grid instead of pole.

We kept calm and I was not fazed and when the bike started I felt it was a real bonus to be able to start from pole after all the problems.

My start was very good and I was leading a grand prix for the very first time and it all felt a bit surreal. Usually in a 125cc grand prix it's very hectic in the pack but here I was with an empty track in front of me with a floodlights glaring down on the empty road ahead. I had the whole track to myself and it was more like a Sunday night ride than a grand prix race but unfortunately it did not last for long.

Suddenly the front end of the bike really shook. Immediately I thought I'd made a mistake but I looked down and saw the steering damper hanging off. I knew any chances of winning had gone in that moment. It took me a couple of laps to settle down and find my way. I'd never ridden a bike without a steering damper before but I was determined to do my best and fight hard to the finish. We'd been practicing and testing Qatar for 11 days and my job was to finish the race. I did just that but in 16th place and out of the points.

I was still really hurting when my Polaris World team-mate Mattia Pasini won the 250cc race and I was first into pit lane to congratulate him. I knew how much it meant to him and the team but I also knew we could have brought the team a double win at the first grand prix of the season. It hurt me even more but my day will come.

Despite my problems, what a night it turned out for British racing. Big congratulations to Scott Redding, Danny Webb and James Toseland for some brilliant rides. What a debut by Scott and it was only that long drag to line that prevented him finishing on the podium after setting the fastest lap of the race. Danny held on to take easily his best grand prix result while James was awesome in the MotoGP race.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Bradley Smith receives a Tissot watch for pole position at Qatar.
Smith, Qatar 125GP 2008
Smith, Qatar 125GP 2008
Smith, San Marino MotoGP Race 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014
Smith, San Marino MotoGP 2014

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