Bradley Smith was a frustrated man after an accident in qualifying left him down in 17th on the grid for the Moto2 Grand Prix of France.

The 20-year-old was well placed with just over five minutes of the session remaining after posting a lap time good enough for the top ten.

But the Tech 3 rider would go no quicker after Axel Pons crashed behind him under braking for the Dunlop chicane, wiping out Smith in the process.

The Briton was the innocent party but refused to get too upset with the accident, accepting that it was inevitable with riders pushing so hard in the dying minutes of qualifying.

“The big frustrating part of today was that I did not get to take the advantage of the new tyre. We had a real consistent bike and I was confident I could improve my times with the new tyre. But then I had the accident with Axel Pons and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.”

“These things can happen in qualifying when people are pushing hard to improve at the end of the session and unfortunately today it was my turn to have the bad luck. We’ll never know how much I could have improved because I didn’t get chance to complete the last three laps. But I think I’ve shown already this season that I am quite strong at the end of qualifying when you need to produce a fast lap.”

Despite his lowly grid position, Smith is still hopeful of a strong race and feels he can still achieve a good result if he stays out of trouble.

“I just need to get a good start from 17th and make up some places on the first couple of laps. It is a long race and this is definitely an overtaking circuit. You just have to be aggressive but pick the right moment. I feel confident, so I just don’t need to make any stupid mistakes.”

Tech 3 teammate Mike Di Meglio will start his home grand prix from 27th on the grid after struggling for grip on the Mistral 610. The Frenchman explained that he had suffered with the problem through free practice and couldn't overcome it in time for qualifying.

“It was a very difficult session for us. This morning it was not so bad and I knew I needed to qualify much faster to give myself a chance in the race. But it was not easy to find the pace. Right from the start we had some problems with rear grip. We changed the setting back to what I was using this morning, but we had the same problem again.”

“All I can do is try and get a good start and be aggressive in the opening laps to put myself in contention for the top 15. It is going to be a hard race, but I’m still determined to put on an exciting show for the many French fans that come to support me. This is the Team’s home race too, so that makes me doubly determined to fight as hard as possible.”

Round four of the Moto2 World Championship will get underway at Le Mans at 11:15 BST on Sunday morning, with championship leader Stefan Bradl starting from pole position.