The win at Mugello may have been very different to the Jerez victory, but the feeling I experienced when I crossed the line was exactly the same.

This time I had no time to think about winning because I was fighting so hard with Nico Terol right to the chequered flag but that fantastic feeling of total elation was just the same. To win two so very different grands prix has been great for my confidence I don't want to get carried away because we are not even one-third of the way through the season.

It was such a great race at Mugello and to win at such a classic venue really did mean so much to me. The weekend and the weather started brilliantly and qualifying was mega interesting and brilliant fun. You could improve your lap times by 0.4 seconds by getting a good tow and slipstreaming down the long straight. I was constantly swapping the pole position with my team-mate Julian Simon and I was proud to come out on top and set the fastest ever 125 cc lap at Mugello. It felt awesome and it was real fun to be on the bike.

Of course the feeling could not last and it was the usual Sunday morning weather when we arrived at the circuit. I was comfortable in the warm-up but I honestly felt I had little chance in the race when the track started to dry after some heavy rain. I would have preferred a straight wet race but it was drying so quickly we were all on slick tyres. We certainly had it easier than the later MotoGP race.

There were two distinct wet patches on the track and it was pretty scary early on with as many as five riders line abreast lining up the next corner. I didn't think there would be room for all of us to fit but we did. Nobody went down and there were no crazy moves.

I was having problems getting my tyres to warm-up in the early stages, but after five or six laps felt comfortable and thought it was time to break up the eight rider battle for the lead. I pushed really hard to break away but Simon and Terol closed me down by putting in some very impressive fast laps. However there was now only three of us and not eight, which meant an excellent chance of the podium.

I had a big moment half-way through the race and decided to let Simon and Terol pull me around for a bit but with seven laps remaining, I pushed on again to stretch the race. Simon slowed with a mechanical problem and I just got my head down for the last couple of laps to ensure that Terol was not close enough coming out of the last corner, to slipstream me racing up towards the line.

It was a great result for me, but also Scott Redding while Danny Webb had been right up there with us making it a great day for the young British riders. It was also a good day for the old Polaris World team from last year. I won the 125s and my team-mate last year Mateo Pasini won the 250 cc race.

My lead in the World Championship looks good on paper but at this stage of the season is totally irrelevant to me because after just five races we are not even a third of the way through the season. It will be at that final couple of races I will start assessing where I am in the standings and what I have to do. My aim is to keep finishing races as high as I can and, pardon the expression, just take it race by race.

I'm really looking forward to round six in Barcelona, which has great sentimental value for me. My grand prix career really started there and I had my first test on a grand prix machine at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Repsol Honda team were based near Barcelona and so I got to know the city and spent a great deal of time training and riding in the area.

I'm off to the TT in the Isle of Man this weekend which should be really interesting. I've never been there and I really do not know what to expect, but with Valentino Rossi visiting it should be real fun.

I realised just how privileged we are in MotoGP when the weekend before Mugello I took part in the Triathlon at Emberton. I was eating my breakfast at 4.45 am and in the freezing lake at 7.45 am. For most of the people there it was just for fun but it was obvious the way some of them blasted past me on the bike and on the track, just how hard they had trained. I eventually finished 31st in the Junior category, which I was pleased with and I hope to do some more during the season.

No wonder I won at Mugello because it was such a relief just to get back on a bike with an engine and in the sunshine on Friday afternoon!

Bradley Smith

 

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