Bradley Smith was in contention for a debut MotoGP podium throughout Sunday's season opening Qatar Grand Prix, only to join a list of high profile fallers with three laps remaining...
It was a very strong race today Bradley until the fall. How did it feel out there?

Bradley Smith:
Yeah, at the end of the day I'm very pleased and proud of the 18 laps that I was out on track for. I got a good start, felt good and was able to follow those guys. I lost a second by making a few mistakes but then I decided with five laps to go that I was going to turn it up and see if I could come back to the leaders. The bike started feeling better and better and I just gave it my best shot.

I was loving riding out there and I really enjoyed myself but got a little bit caught out by the left hand side. I'd been having a few moments on the left but I didn't want to accept that I had to slow down, especially when I could see a podium opportunity there. At the end of the day I'll learn from everything that happened. I pretty much ran with the front group for the whole race which considering our best result last year was 27s behind the leader, today we were on for three or four seconds, and that type of improvement doesn't merit being disappointed.
With the fall were you a little off line, or was it just the tyre?

Bradley Smith:
It was a difficult one but for some reason when I changed direction I don't know if I hit something, I felt a bump, and then I grabbed way too much brake, because I panicked from going in way too fast, and I locked the front and went down. It's typical of everyone else's crashes to be honest. It was very similar to Alvaro and Cal's crashes there this weekend.
How much confidence are you going to take from this weekend for the next race in Texas? Obviously with three days testing here beforehand it's a bit unique.

Bradley Smith:
Already the bike feels like I can ride it like I want to ride it. Already I was pushing the bike and it was accepting it as I pushed harder and harder. This was the first time that it's allowed me to push as hard as I wanted to. Looking at Texas last year it's a tough race for Yamaha, the Honda's seemed to have the advantage there last year and seemed to be very dominant there. But I know that I wasn't far off Valentino this weekend so the objective will be to run with the factory boys again next time and improve on last year. The performance from this weekend we'll be able to take on and the bike feels good, the team feels good and the basis is there to have a great season.
Even with the two crashes this weekend I imagine you're taking this as your most complete race weekend since you probably in 125s?

Bradley Smith:
Yeah exactly, it's the first time that I started on the front row since Mugello in 2011 [in the Moto2 class] so that's obviously a big step forward. I haven't been how competitive we were this weekend in a long time and I'm pleased with what we were able to do. At the end of the day I was matching them like for like and if it wasn't for the second that I lost in the middle of the race due a little bit of inexperience I was right there on the rear tails of those guys so there's a lot of great things. I'm sure that I'll grumble a few times between now and Texas but I loved every minute of it and wouldn't change it for anything else.
In the winter you spent a lot of time working on worn tyres, how much improvement did you see in that today?

Bradley Smith:
Today's performance speaks for the type of improvements that we made. I didn't get dropped on fuel full and I was able to mix it with them. I didn't get passed by anybody under braking, all of it was down the main straight.
How much were you losing on the straights compared to the others?

Bradley Smith:
It wasn't so much top speed but rather it was exiting the last corner and they were blasting past me in the beginning of the race rather than the end so maybe we need to do something with the bike to give me more power in the first five laps and then tone it down from there. You only learn from riding with these guys and that's what we did today.



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