Bradley Smith expressed disappointment after he missed out on a place in the second qualifying shootout of the day, and felt some of the riding he witnessed in that session was “dangerous.”

The Englishman was on course to challenge for the top two positions in the first qualifying shootout of the day, but found Franco Morbidelli and Maverick Viñales touring around the racing line in the track’s final sector.

Both were subsequently penalised for their actions (Morbidelli received a six-place grid penalty while Viñales will start three places back), and Smith indicated the scenes he witnessed were not what would be expected of experienced racers.

“I can be big and bold and brash about it and say they messed up my Q2 but at the end of the day it was not to be,” he said. “I was bloody close this morning: half a tenth from going directly there. Honestly I feel I had that last little bit to squeeze in the end of that session.

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“I’m a little bit disappointed. There were a lot of experienced motorcycle racers sat in the braking area. Just the closing speed is so dangerous. I’m doing 330kph and they’re doing no more than 150kph. I don’t know which way they’re going to go.

“It looked quite calm on TV but you imagine arriving at that speed and it’s certainly not calm. I had to go on the kerb to avoid Morbidelli and then dive in on the inside of Maverick there.

“I definitely feel a 1m 47s was there. It was a 48.2. It would have been very close between me and Nakagami who made it through in the end. Getting into Q2 is always more of an award. You get to mix it with the boys in there and then you get to learn something.

“But obviously, my situation [in Q1] was, it was just dangerous. You can't set at the end of a back straight like they were. I caught Maverick unawares, Maverick tried to open, but if you're doing 150kph and you open, you can't accelerate to 300kph, it just doesn't happen.

“And Franco just didn't look behind. So Franco was just downright dangerous. Simeon found himself in a similar situation, if he's a little bit more to the inside, basically you had three guys in the braking area, and you just can't do that.

“What I saw in Q2 is just part of racing, what I saw in Q1 was dangerous, in my opinion.”

Regarding Sunday’s race, Smith was fairly confident. He missed the top ten cut by 0.05s in FP3 and feels his RC16 has the consistency to place between twelfth and 15th.

“The weekend’s been good. I felt I was strong on soft tyres today. We’re lacking a bit of pace in FP4. We’ll make some tweaks on our race set-up for tomorrow and see what we can do. The consistency’s there. we’re just lacking a bit of pace in the beginning.

“We’ll see what happens. It looks like other guys drop quite a lot. We just need to go with them at the beginning and then see how the KTM fares towards the middle to the end of the race.”



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