Bradley Smith walked away from this huge highside during Friday practice for the season-opening Qatar MotoGP (see below).

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider had just gone fastest when he was thrown from his M1 - but shrugged off the spectacular incident and returned on his spare machine to set the sixth fastest time on his penultimate lap.

"That was a 500cc crash!" said Smith after the session. "I've watched many a classic bike race and that was definitely a 500 crash! I proved that traction control doesn't do everything - but that was a big one.

"We made a setting that enabled me to enter corners and carry more corner speed, which is what I was looking for, but unfortunately it took away a little bit of my edge grip hence why I went flying to the moon.

"I knew that I was going over so I tried to tuck as much as possible and land on my back but you don't know where the bike is and looking at the video I got away quite lightly from it, but the bike is pretty much done so the guys have a long night ahead of themselves."

Looking ahead to Saturday's qualifying session, Smith added:

"It's going to be a difficult one in qualifying to extract as much as you can from a brand new tyre. But the more grip that the track's got the less advantage that the [Open] soft tyre has, so we need to qualify ahead of the Ducatis otherwise they could make it really tough for us come the start of the race.

"Aleix [Espargaro] looks very solid for pole position so it's important to follow him at the beginning of the race."

Although Aleix Espargaro is quickest on the Open class Forward Yamaha, Smith is currently the top YZR-M1 rider, having outpaced the Movistar Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, plus team-mate Pol Espargaro.

Bradley Smith's highside during Friday night's FP3 at Qatar (8)


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