Bradley Smith pocketed his maiden MotoGP top ten finish at Jerez, although the series newcomer admitted afterwards that he was 'disappointed' to finish behind CRT rider Aleix Espargaro.

Smith was battling for eighth place with Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, Espargaro on the Power Electronics Aspar and Ducati test rider Michele Pirro for much of the 27-lap race.

He overtook Pirro for tenth place with three laps remaining, although at that stage Espargaro was 1.770s ahead in ninth.

The Tech 3 Yamaha rider slashed Espargaro's advantage to less than a second in the closing stages of the race but ultimately ran out of time to mount a challenge for ninth.

"I'm obviously happy with my first top 10 result because conditions for the race were different compared to the rest of the weekend," he said.

"The lap times were relatively slow and the temperature meant the grip was quite low, so it was a big learning experience for me.

"Riding these bikes with that little grip needs a different style, so I had to adapt at the beginning of the race.

"From the middle stages I felt comfortable and I'm a little disappointed to be beaten again by Espargaro but it's nice to be at least closer than last time in Austin," he added.

"I just ran out of time at the end of the race because I was catching him very quickly."

Smith is now looking forward to the test at Jerez as he continues his learning curve on a MotoGP machine after making the step up to the class for the first time this season.

"I'm really looking forward to the test tomorrow. It will be another learning experience for me and it will be nice to test on a track where we've just had a race and where I feel now really comfortable on the bike," he said.

"Tomorrow we will be able to test a few different parts and understand actually what's working better and what does not.

"So all in all it has been a positive weekend with improvements in every session."

Team manager Herve Poncharal hailed the weekend as a 'positive' one for the series rookie.

"It has also been a very positive weekend for Bradley who improved a lot in every session and he managed to score his first MotoGP top ten finish.

"The race was hard and he had some good fights with Andrea and Pirro and this was very interesting to watch," he said.

"We leave Jerez very confident for the upcoming challenges, and the next one will be our all-important home race in Le Mans where we are already really excited about going there."



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